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A Happy Homecoming: Eastern University celebrates its students and alumni amidst COVID-19.

Every academic year brings in new students to Eastern University’s campus, and every academic year also brings about the recognition of the students who came before during the homecoming celebration. As with many on-campus activities, homecoming looked a bit different this year due to restrictions and guidelines the school has to follow regarding COVID-19 procedures.

The Alumni Department made the decision to not have an in-person Homecoming event where families and friends can reconnect on campus, participate in activities and fundraisers, and donate to clubs and the school in general. Alumni fundraising and events were moved online to ensure that there would be less of a risk for those who would be coming onto campus as well as for students who live in the residence halls.

However, residential students were able to participate in the Harvest Festival organized by the Student Activities Board (SAB). Students could paint
pumpkins, donate to non-funded clubs by buying raffle tickets, tie-dye shirts, listen to music, and grab a bite to eat from food trucks.

“When we were planning [the Harvest Festival], we were considering what kind of activities are offered at the Homecoming Festival, and we usually think of having food, the whole fundraising aspect of it, and we wanted to wanted to provide a variety of activities like pumpkin painting and decorating, tie-dying, games, raffle baskets, and just offering that food again,” Colton Domblesky, a member of SAB, said.

Free food is always a draw to events for college students, and at the Harvest Festival, they could enjoy snacks like funnel cake, donuts, cheese fries, and hot chocolate: nice and warm for the autumn weather.

In addition to the Harvest Festival on October 3, SAB also hosted a Homecoming Dance on October 10, but instead of it being inside the gym like it was in past years, this year’s dance was held on the tennis courts to allow for more people and proper social distancing. Students dressed up, though because the dance was on the tennis courts, no heels were allowed, and went out for a night of dancing and spending time with friends under
the stars – the theme of the event.

“Social distancing is going to be a little bit of a challenge, but as always, we’ve been trying to watch attendance very closely and ensuring that physical
distancing is happening , and we’re also making sure that all students are properly wearing a mask during the entire time they are attending our events,” Domblesky said in anticipation of the dance.

Despite all of the challenges and setbacks that the pandemic created for SAB and the Alumni Department, the Homecoming festivities were a success whether in person or online.

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