Students, faculty and family ambling around whilst proudly clad in maroon Eastern apparel is always a welcoming sight when homecoming occurs each fall. The sense of identity that people find in their college is reaffirmed upon returning to Eastern where they are greeted with an overwhelming sense of school pride. Homecoming is a wonderful way for alumni to come back to their college and reengage with their favorite professors, meet up with peers they have not seen for a few years or sit on the Kea-Guffin hill to cheer on Eastern’s soccer team. This event allows them to relive some of their memories from college as well as form new ones. When people visit their old schools, it evokes a unique feeling of nostalgia within them, which is one of the many reasons homecoming is such an important event. In addition, homecoming is wonderful because it allows families to come spend a day on Eastern’s campus, allowing them to get a taste of where their children live and learn while away at school.
The tradition of homecoming has been celebrated for decades; from football games to parades, the convention holds great significance for many. Homecoming events differ from school to school, but their foundations remain the same. Here at Eastern, homecoming is celebrated with games for the fall sports teams, club fundraisers and alumni events. At this year’s homecoming celebration, many of Eastern’s clubs dedicated their time to raising money for their causes. The Waltonian staff sold “blind date books”: one could purchase a book based on a small description of the story, without knowing the title or author. The Math and Science Honor Society (Eastern’s branch of Sigma Zeta National Math and Science Honor Society) was stationed at a table selling homemade cold brew coffee, and the Eastern University nursing students sold an array of homemade baked goods. Other groups manning tables at this year’s homecoming included student chaplains, sports teams and dance majors, all working to connect with homecoming visitors. Eastern’s Student Activities Board brought a close to the night by hosting a dance for all current Eastern students in the gym.
One of the most important aspects of homecoming every year is the returning of alumni to their alma mater, regardless of whether they graduated one year ago or 20 years ago. Eastern’s homecoming is especially meaningful due to its small size: the intimacy of it allows for a greater sense of community. Alumni are easily able to discuss new happenings within the clubs and organizations they used to be involved in, keeping them connected to their university even after they have left it. Not only is homecoming rewarding for the alumni who return, but it is beneficial for students to connect and speak with alumni from their areas of study to see possibilities for their futures. Professors are able to reconnect with their past students and see the wonderful things they are pursuing in their lives, both in the professional and personal realms. Homecoming offers many opportunities for bonding and reconnection, creating relationships between current and past students which helps lead to an all-around better community within Eastern.