As September unfolds with the familiar crispness and snowballing workload, nothing can make the transition into the fall easier than the Case Western Reserve University tradition of Homecoming week.
For the first time at CWRU, the festive week of Spartan pride will be combined with Alumni Weekend and Parents’ Weekend events under a new name: Homecoming: A Celebration of Alumni, Families, and Students, with the hope of creating a richer sense of community among past and present Spartans. Over 100 events will take place between Monday, Sept. 24 and Sunday, Sept. 30.
“This year, the committee that we have been working with has been trying to focus on doing a full week of events,” said Crystal Sutton, Assistant Director of Programs in the Office of Student Activities and Leadership, who oversees the student Homecoming steering committee.
“We just really wanted to try to make it more about Homecoming week, and why not have a whole week of celebrations?” she said.
Sutton continued, “The [Family Weekend] part is just getting them to care just as much about the institution as the students do… It is a cool way for [everyone] to interact and all celebrate this one common thing.”
Spartan Spiritfest, which previously took place on a Friday during Community Hour, will kick off the Homecoming week on Monday, Sept. 24 from noon until 2 p.m. in the Thwing Atrium. Thwing will also host the announcement of the Homecoming court, giveaways, free food, and the Case Student Athletic Association to promote the fall athletic schedule.
The Alumni Association will also be present with a photo booth. “It is just going to be a fun pep rally [to] kind of get the spirit pumped up,” Sutton said.
Following the Spiritfest will be the Senior Powderpuff Rally, the Class of 2013 event, at 8 p.m. at Case Field.
“Something the Class Officer Collective is doing is hosting specific class unity events,” Sutton said, with the Class of 2014 s’mores event on Tuesday, the Class of 2015 Beach Volleyball game on Thursday, and the Class of 2016 First Year Picnic on Friday. The COC will also be hosting the Powderpuff Football Game on Wednesday at 9 p.m. at Case Field.
“The class events this week are really more of a build up for the big Saturday event,” said E.J. Tavares, COC senior class secretary and COC representative on the Homecoming student steering committee.
“Something that we are doing for each event is we are having each class choose their own philanthropy that is somewhat related to the class or has a significance,” he said. “We are just trying to get focused on creating this class culture. There is a sense of class pride that we are trying to incorporate.”
On Thursday, Sept. 27, the Blue Block Party will double as both the grand opening of Uptown and the kick-off event for Alumni and Family Weekends. There will be vendor specials and giveaways from 7:30 to 10 p.m. in Toby’s Plaza, the courtyard behind Chipotle, Jimmy John’s, and Panera Bread.
“Homecoming does not have to be just athletics,” Sutton said. Friday will also include the traditional THINK Forums sponsored by the Alumni Association. The annual Relay For Life kick off will take place on Friday, Sept. 28 from noon to 2 p.m. on the Kelvin Smith Library Oval, initiating the start of the 2013 Relay For Life season.
Regardless, the week’s events fuel up for the Homecoming Parade that marches down Bellflower Road on Saturday at 11 a.m., and the pinnacle Homecoming football game versus Wittenberg University at 1 p.m. “Everything builds up to the football game,” Tavares said. “In terms of turn out, it is going to be the biggest event,” he said.
There will be two tailgates to help fans gear up for the game: the inaugural student tailgate from noon to 1 p.m. at Case Field, sponsored by Greek Life, and the Spartan tailgate from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Leutner Commons, sponsored by the Alumni Association.
“I feel like [the parade] is really something that is accessible to any student,” said Sutton, which is a joint collaboration between Greek Life and Student Activities and Leadership.
“For [President Barbara R. Snyder], the only thing she wants is to have a grand parade before the football game,” Tavares said. “Since we just love President Snyder so much, we kind of made it our mission to do that,” he said.
Homecoming week, Alumni Weekend, and Family Weekend will close together on Sunday with the annual University Planning Board fall concert, featuring B.o.B. at 6:30 p.m. in Veale.
“In the past, I think the students have viewed [Alumni Weekend and Homecoming] as two different things,” Sutton said. “I hope this can let students see that this is a weekend for all of you.”