By Josie Shaw, Managing editor of production
“G-R-E-E-N, We’re just happy we got in!,” is one of the alleged Green Side cheers from the past years. While it’s all out of love and humor, it’s the opposite depiction of my experience being on Palmer Staff during the 2023 College Night season.
For those unaware, Green Side is an umbrella term for faculty and students who remain neutral during our competitive musical theater tradition of College Night.
It doesn’t just define students who choose to be blissfully ignorant of the Purples and Golds, but those who choose to be Green to help the season run smoothly.
Palmer Staff is a section of students, alumni and UM faculty who return each February to run maintenance on lighting, sound, safety, and anything else pertaining to College Night. This might seem like an outsider’s job, but I’ve never felt more involved in Homecoming.
After playing on one side my freshman year, I felt lost and confused when it came to College Night. While I had lots of fun, I felt like my experience was lacking a sense of belonging that everyone else seemed to have. After this, and after COVID-19, I just became very ambivalent to the tradition.
This ambivalence helped me for a while. With The Alabamian, I got to interview College Night historians for our Falcons on Air podcast. Hearing their love and romanticization of the Homecoming tradition felt simultaneously beautiful and confusing as an ex-participant.
Soon after, the faithful Green Side leaders and faculty Marion Brown and Andrew Fancher approached me about joining Palmer Staff due to my neutrality with the newspaper.
To be frank, I joined at the time out of wanting more experience with stage technology. I’m happy to report Palmer Staff means much more to me now.
With a team of great people, being able to participate in both shows simultaneously has been a great way to finish my final semester at UM. The lack of competition has now brought a joy to this tradition that I’m very happy to experience. It’s not without its stress, as all College Night things are, but it’s all worth the pain.
As Palmer Staff, we don’t just facilitate College Night, we cultivate College Night. And, we don’t just do it for the money.
Cady Inabinett is the managing editor of content for The Alabamian. She’s majoring in English and double-minoring in political science and peace and justice studies. She enjoys reading, watching movies and generally just being pretentious in her free time.