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The rise and fall (and rise again) of Romp, Chomp and Stomp

The evolution of a tradition

Romp, Chomp, Stomp

In this 1946 Savitar photo, Bob Heinsohn, BS Ed ’47, M Ed ’51, “cuts a floor” with his dancing partner during the Homecoming dance. Such dances were a key component of the Romp, Chomp and Stomp tradition. Heinsohn lettered in basketball and track.

In the 1950s when Tom Schultz was a student at Mizzou, the Homecoming tradition of Romp, Chomp and Stomp was in its heyday. “In the Romp, students did funny things like skits and cheers,” says Schultz, BJ ’56, director of external relations for regional programs in the MU Office of Development. “The Chomp was a big buffet at Brewer Fieldhouse, and there’d be people sitting on chairs and all over the basketball court — everywhere. And the Stomp was usually a dance.” And what a dance it was. Legendary entertainers including Dave Brubeck and Lionel Hampton graced the stage. “In those days, there were fewer students, and everybody more or less knew each other. It was a great party.”

But even great times change, and Romp, Chomp and Stomp waned during the consciousness-raising of the late 1960s. According to a 1971 Missouri Alumnus article, students felt it was time to give Homecoming a facelift: “Students, who once tramped around the Columns with a cheer for Ol’ Mizzou, want a change of emphasis, including time to meet and rap with alumni.”

Greek organizations and others started broadening the definition of Homecoming to include community service. In 1969, four Greek houses donated their house decoration budgets
to charities, several campus organizations performed service projects, and Romp, Chomp and Stomp was no more. “There’s no need for the same old flowers and pageantry,” said then-MSA President Chip Casteel, BS PA ’72, JD ’78. “Students want to reach out to alumni.”

Any students and alumni wanting to rap — 1970s style, that is — can do just that at the 2011 reincarnation of Romp, Chomp and Stomp Homecoming day (Oct. 15) on Carnahan Quadrangle.

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