Staff Ed: UMW Homecoming fails to represent students
By THE BLUE & GRAY PRESS STAFF
Homecoming week is here, and as alumni return to campus, current students are left wondering what has happened to the exciting event. This year’s homecoming fails to unify the diverse student body and to live up to past expectations.
In the past, the University has hosted big-name music groups such as Grouplove and the Flobots. Noticeably missing from this year’s schedule of events is a concert seen in the last several years.
UMW’s first homecoming took place in 1972, and 33 years later, the college has made efforts to create an even larger event. Previously, the event was consigned to just a weekend, but now, events are spread throughout the week leading up to the weekend full of sporting events and tailgating.
Even though this event is designed to attract alumni and donations, the University should not forget about its current students, many of who will soon be alumni themselves.
The alumni’s Facebook page states that UMW receives only 25 percent of their operating budget from the commonwealth, obviously, the University relies heavily on alumni funds. We are not decrying the need to look attractive to former students and graduates, however, it seems that the lack of unification has created disinterest among students.
If students want to participate in the festivities, they are presented with scant options. This year we have been offered a bonfire, lip sync contest and homecoming barbecue. Although these events are bound to be entertaining, they are not anything special or out of the ordinary.
One of the best things about this campus is the diversity present in the student body, and yet, this year there is no major event designed to unite students and alumni.
Unlike other universities, we have no football team to serve as the central focus of the weekend, nor do we have a homecoming formal. We are not asking for a football team, but a dance or larger event that could be attended by the majority of students would not be amiss.
For the students that are sports oriented, Saturday is packed with various sports as well as the tailgate. This event is only allowed for alumni or students over the age of 21, and it costs $75 to reserve a spot. So what are the remaining students to do?
No one is trying to attack the university, however, the question of “what has happened to homecoming?” begs to be answered. Is this just an off year for the college? Students have fond memories of the past homecomings, and alumni surely do as well, but this year, the university fails to live up to the hype.
Hopefully next year, the university will recognize the need to create a more inclusive weekend with events for students of all ages. Alumni return because they have glowing memories of their homecoming weekends, current students should have that option as well.