By Jija Dutt
Ohio Wesleyan students, faculty, family and alumni from around the country gathered to celebrate yet another homecoming weekend from Friday, October 4, to Sunday, October 6.
The Spirit and Homecoming Organization (SHO) planned events for students throughout the week leading up to homecoming weekend. Free cookies in the campus center, a tie-dye shirts day on Williams Drive, banner making competition among various organizations and a homecoming dance were among a host of other events.
A student-faculty soccer game scheduled fore Thursday, October 3, was later canceled due to lack of participation.
Senior Sarah Hartzheim, vice-president of SHO, said her favorite part of homecoming is involving people from across the community in a fun, stress free celebration of everyone’s time at OWU.
“Homecoming this year involved a lot more people as SHO has grown significantly this year.,” she said. “We’re really excited about all the underclass men getting involved and showing such leadership potential.”
Hartzheim also said every year SHO increases the amount of shirts, cups and food allotted for the week and weekend because the number of people attending increases each year.
The homecoming football game between Ohio Wesleyan and Allegheny was won by the bishops (50-7).
This year’s homecoming court winners were crowned at halftime during the football game. The new OWU royalty are seniors Tim O’Keefe andMarilyn Baer as king and queen respectively along with juniors Morgan McBride as prince and Ayana Colwin as princess.
According to Brenda DeWitt, director of Alumni Relations, homecoming is an OWU tradition.
“Over the years, there have been many different types of activities associated with the weekend,” she said. “Currently our focus is engaging alumni through various affinity groups such as Greek, athletic, and activity.”
This year’s special events included Alpha Sigma Phi’s sesquicentennial celebration and 25th “Cluster Reunions” for the classes of 1987, 1988, and 1989. Former members of OWU’s now-defunct chapter Sigma Alpha Epsilon also had their reunion, and OWU held the 53rd annual Athletics Hall of Fame and the Alumni Association Board of Directors also met during the week.
DeWitt said “a student-focused event” was Munch and Mingle, a networking program held at noon on Friday, October 4. It was an opportunity for students to interact with alumni in their field of interest.
Emily Roudebush, assistant director of Alumni Relations and Event Planning, said planning for homecoming begins in the early spring of each year. She and her colleagues “get down to the nitty-gritty details” after Alumni Weekend in mid-May.
Much like family weekend, Roudebush said all of the University Advancement office pitches in to help plan Homecoming.
“Also, many student activities take place during the weekend, so I try to work with all of them to make sure their events are on the Homecoming Weekend schedule,” she said.
DeWitt said close to 500 alumni were scheduled to be on campus attending various events throughout the weekend. Roudebbush said the office sends a mailing to alumni in the 13 states closest to OWU: Connecticut, DC, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virgina, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. Multiple emails about the weekend are also sent out to all alumni.
Tricia DiFranco ’09 said it was a good to be back “catching up with old friends and seeing the improvements to campus.”
Freshman Becca Manning said her favorite part of her first homecoming weekend was seeing all the students of each class “dancing together and having fun.”
Roudebush said her favorite part of homecoming is usually the affinity reunion dinners.
“Those groups are usually so enthusiastic and excited to be back on campus with their respective groups,” she said. “It’s fun to get to see them all interact with current students as well.”
DeWitt said she enjoys “watching alumni reconnect with each other, with the campus and with students.”
“There are some alumni who haven’t been back to campus for years and it is fun to see them get excited about the changes on campus,” she said.