The Criminal Justice Association (CJA) float won first place in the Registered Student Organization division of the 2013 Homecoming Parade.

The concept of the float was “150 Years of Justice Served,” which corresponded with the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Alumni Association. The float served as a criminal justice timeline, displaying an electric chair to symbolize earlier forms of punishment and a jail to symbolize a more recent form. A crime map was also included. This contemporary tool is often used by law enforcement agencies to map, visualize, and analyze crime incident patterns. Mug shots of celebrities provided an eye-catching backdrop, while congratulations to the Alumni Association were noted on the float as well.

“Although it could be stressful at times, working on the float was fun and extremely rewarding,” said Dom Collins, a senior criminal justice sciences major and vice president of the Criminal Justice Association. “We had a great turnout of volunteers this year. Many days we had food and music playing in the background, which turned the float building into a fun, social experience.”

“On the Friday before the parade, our faculty surprised us by finishing up one side of the float. When we arrived at the scheduled building time, everything was all done,” said Eric Rappa, a senior criminal justice sciences major and president of the Criminal Justice Association. “We were able to spend that time socializing with other students and faculty and eat pizza together. That was the best part of the float building process … with the exception of winning, of course!”

Collins said the process brought the club closer together.

“This year’s float building was such an amazing experience, and it was all due to the people involved,” Collins said.

“Dom and I really wanted to leave a legacy for CJA,” Rappa said. “We were so thankful that our hard work paid off, we won first place, and we were able to bring home the $500 prize for our organization. It was an amazing feeling to have all of our hard work rewarded.”