Homecoming weekend to feature over 30 events

by Frances Cohen | 10/27/16 12:44am

With events ranging from a lecture on the upcoming election to tours of Baker Library Bell Tower to the traditional parade and bonfire on the Green, this year’s Homecoming schedule includes more than 30 events. Vice President for Alumni Relations Martha Beattie ’76 said between 4,000 to 5,000 alumni typically return for Homecoming and the College expects a similar turnout this year.

This year’s Homecoming weekend is later than usual. Beattie said that several factors play into the selection of a date, including the football schedule and holidays such as Yom Kippur and Halloween.

Because of Homecoming’s proximity to Halloween, the Collis Center’s events will incorporate the holiday theme. Collis After Dark will host an event on Saturday night featuring pumpkin carving and Halloween-themed cupcake decorating, Collis associate director David Pack said.

Kicking off the weekend on Friday is DARToberfest held on Alumni Gym lawn, which will feature a beer garden and food. This event is the initial gathering of alumni as they come into town, Beattie said, though the event is open to the entire community.

Following DARToberfest, alumni will participate in a parade, starting at the end of the football field, taking a right on Main Street and circling the Green.

After the parade, the Dartmouth Night ceremony will take place on the steps of Dartmouth Hall. The gathering will include speakers such as College President Phil Hanlon, football co-captain Brandon Cooper ’17 and women’s soccer co-captain Holly Patterson ’17, as well as a performance from the Glee Club. The Class of 2020 will then parade to the Green before the bonfire is lit.

This year’s Homecoming football game will be against Harvard University at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. The game will be followed by the “Year Zero Reunion,” which occurs every year for members of the most recent graduating class who are returning to Hanover for their first Homecoming as alumni.

According to Beattie, visitors from about 30 different classes are expected to return to campus this weekend. In addition to the Class of 2016’s reunion, individual class reunions will be held on Saturday.

A “Back to Class” lecture will be held on Saturday morning, with a focus on the upcoming election. Government professor Dean Lacy will moderate the panel, which will feature Director of the Dickey Center for International Understanding Daniel Benjamin and government professors Deborah Brooks and Brendan Nyhan.

“It is a rock-star faculty panel that we’re sharing with all alumni and friends, and students are more than welcome to come,” Beattie said.

The Alumni Relations office will also live stream the lecture for the first time this year.

Other events are planned by the Collis Center. According to Pack, Collis will be hosting a late night breakfast after the bonfire with a performance by the student band Life After Disco.

As part of a recent attempt to tailor Homecoming to family members of all ages, this year will feature, for the second time, “Touch-A-Truck.” Various vehicles, including firetrucks, ambulances, police cars and dump trucks, will be set up on the Green for children to climb on. Following the event will be a scavenger hunt around campus for families. Besides the Hanover Inn and other hotels in town, which are usually fully booked, alumni will be staying in friends’ homes or utilizing Airbnb, Beattie said.

“I have friends who have houses here that they put on Airbnb just for this, and they have loved it,” Beattie said. “They have Dartmouth alumni coming in, and they get to meet them and be friends, and it really works well.”

Beattie advises students to get involved as much as possible in the events, especially the parade.

“I always say that the passion of our alumni is our greatest asset, and to have a weekend like this where everyone comes back is just so vibrant and fun,” she said.