By Jack Hunt
Elm Staff Writer
Four years ago, the Student Events Board and the Student Government Association combined forces to bring a Homecoming back to Washington College after eight years without the event. The idea came about as a way to raise the level of school spirit among st the students on campus.
“Student apathy has always been a problem,” said former SGA President Andrew Antonio in a previous Elm article from September 29, 2010. “Homecoming was the first step in curbing that problem.”
Ed Hoegg, president of the SGA at the time, and Antonio were largely responsible for making Homecoming a reality in 2010. Without a football team to serve as the main event during the day, they turned attention to the fall sports teams who were playing, isuch as the women’s soccer team, the volleyball team, the field hockey team, and the club rugby team.
The event was well received in 2010 with many students turning out for the sports games and roughly 600 students attending the dance. According to Rachel Dilliplane, director of mainstage events for the SEB, “The year it was brought back it was a huge success, and [the] Student Events Board won award[s] for Collaborative Event of the Year and Student Organization of the Year.”
This year, Homecoming is a few weeks later than usual. It has been tied to Fall Family Weekend in the past, but the SEB and the SGA decided to move it back so that athletes could attend without violating any team policies. Students also wanted to separate the celebration from the festivities involving families and the citizens of Chestertown. “Some students expressed the concern that in previous years having Homecoming the same weekend as Fall Family Weekend meant that they had less time with their families,” said the SGA Secretary of Social Life Kelsey McCurdy.
The space between the two events is meant to allow Homecoming to be more about students and alumni rather than families and the broader community. SEB Director of Traditions and School Spirit Katie Gordon said, “This year the Student Events Board is striving to make Homecoming more geared toward school spirit, as it is traditionally meant to be.” She went on to say that there are going to be three events sponsored the week of Homecoming to lead up to the dance. “This includes a Trivia Game Night with trivia about WAC and New Year’s Eve (the theme for this year) on Monday (Oct. 13)…. On (Oct. 15) we will be having a tailgate for the men’s soccer game, where we will be handing out Homecoming T-shirts, and on (Oct. 17) we will be ‘painting the campus maroon’ and having a pep-rally type bonfire in the evening,” said Gordon.
Homecoming is set for the evening of Oct. 18 with a field hockey game and a men’s soccer match preceding the dance in the daytime. The goal of the SEB and the SGA is to make this year’s celebration better than any of the past, but its success depends on the willingness of students to show their school pride. The organizers hope that Homecoming will have more significance this year as a school tradition and not as a simple gathering of students and alumni.