In the midst of the hecticness of a new term and stressful co-ops, students can unwind with an array of events and mini competitions during Drexel University’s 2019 Homecoming.
The annual celebration, which will take place from Jan. 14 to 20, is designed to boost spirit across campus in an authentically traditional way, according to assistant director of Campus Engagement, Sarah Olsen.
“Homecoming is really to create a collegiate experience and build on tradition that will assist students at Drexel to take some time for themselves outside of the classroom and any co-curricular experience to help them build a sense of community here amongst their fellow Dragons, as well as a deeper connection to Drexel overall,” Olsen said.
These events are thoughtfully designed to please a wide variety of students, and there are competitive elements intertwined into these experiences where students can compete for prizes to further enhance the fun leading up to Homecoming weekend, according to Olsen.
“It’s a diverse plethora of competitions that hit all different skill sets of students. It’s looking to be inclusive and getting all types of students of all different backgrounds, skill sets, abilities and interests involved in the week,” she said. “There is something for everyone.”
The Homecoming Bonfire, which will take place Jan. 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Race Street Lawn, will kick off the week. Students can make s’mores over the toasty fire while enjoying special guest appearances from the spirit team, Mario and even some senior leadership. Members of the men’s and women’s basketball teams will also be speaking, and they are looking to have a hoop for students to play against the teams.
The second event, the Battleship Competition, commences the competitive side of the celebration. From 8 to 10 p.m. Jan. 15, teams will ride in canoes in the DAC pool with large buckets of water, trying to sink the other teams’ canoes. Another competitive event, the Variety Show, will take place Jan. 16 from 8 to 10 p.m. in Behrakis Grand Hall. This event, which surpasses a typical talent show, allows students to show off their unique talents or anything else that they may deem as interesting or engaging, Olsen said, explaining how last year’s show included lip syncing, singing, skits and even comedy. Students could sign up either as teams or as free agents to participate in these competitions, though sign-up for this year’s activities has since closed.
Jan. 17 will offer two events. From 6 to 8 p.m., classes of 2008-2019 are invited to the Homecoming Class of 2019 and Young Alumni Social at Boathouse Row for a chance to enjoy, drinks, music, food and nighttime views from the patio. Later that evening, from 9 to 11 p.m., all students are welcome for Homecoming Quizzo in the Recreation Center Lobby, hosted in collaboration with Dragons After Dark
These events, Olsen said, help build school spirit in students throughout the week, which also helps to build stronger alumni bases in the future for continued dedication to the university.
But aside from building a greater sense of community and intensifying Drexel pride, Olsen said that students can take this moment to rejuvenate themselves.
“Students so often are really bogged down with the rigors of co-op or class. Student schedules here at Drexel are so overwhelming, and students get overwhelmed from time to time — understandably — but this week causes students to slow down a little bit,” she said.
While homecoming has been a time-honored tradition at the university, recent efforts by Olsen and other members of the campus engagement team have worked to establish more consistent programming to establish a true tradition of what homecoming looks like at Drexel.
“I think when you said ‘homecoming’ several years ago, most people would say, ‘We have a homecoming?’ but that has changed a lot in the last couple of years. I want, when you ask that question, for students to all think of the same thing,” she explained.
Consistency is key to maintaining tradition, she said, but one thing that is changing, however, is the Homecoming Court. Rather than having a designated “King” and “Queen,” they are moving to the concept of a “Royal Dragon” to eliminate any exclusion.
“We are really looking to be inclusive in all of our practices,” she said.
Voting will take place all next week through DragonLink on the campus engagement page. The Royal Dragon, as well as the first and second runner-ups, will be announced at halftime during the men’s basketball game — the finale of the celebrative week that will take place Jan. 19 at 2 p.m. Winners of the spirit week competitions will also be announced at this time.
Though competition is a theme of these events, overall, Olsen said the week is really all about connecting.
“It’s about reconnecting with yourself outside of being a student on co-op or a student in class and reconnecting to being a college student, it’s a connection to your fellow classmates and dragons — whether that is forming a team or just going out to these events — reconnecting with those students you may have a camaraderie with and doing that in a different place at an event with different people, and really, thus, reconnecting with Drexel as a larger community,” she said.
A full list of events can be viewed https://drexel.edu/studentlife/get_involved/programs_events/homecoming/.