'05s look forward to tradition-filled Homecoming

by Alice Gomstyn | 10/19/01 5:00am

Tonight, in what is known as the "freshmen sweep," '05s from all corners of the campus will swarm the blazing Green. There, they will run circles around the bonfire, thus continuing a tradition that dates back to 1904.

The bonfire itself, however, was officially organized 11 years earlier, after a resounding 34-0 Dartmouth football victory over Amherst College. It is now the featured event of Homecoming, a weekend rich with traditions and revelry.

Homecoming may owe its inception to Dartmouth President William Jewett Tucker, who, in the fall of 1895, gave an address welcoming that century's '99s to the College. That night, known as Dartmouth Night, eventually evolved into an annual, weekend-long celebration.

By all accounts, this year's freshmen are eager and excited to partake in the merriment.

"I'm really looking forward to it," Christina Yu '05 said. "It'll be a nice break from all the work."

Yu said that she was mostly excited by the prospect of showing her loyalty to Dartmouth.

Homecoming will be "something fun to do," according to Dan Shivapour '05.

"It'll be a good way to break the monotony of class," he said.Shivapour included the freshmen sweep, the football game against Columbia University and the celebrations taking place on Webster Avenue among his Homecoming Weekend plans.

When asked which Homecoming event he looked forward to most, Alvin Black III '05 did not hesitate in providing his answer: "Running around the bonfire."

Like Black, the majority of freshmen who spoke to The Dartmouth listed circling the bonfire as their most anticipated Homecoming activity.

"I've heard that the running around the bonfire is an incredible experience and that there's nothing quite like it," Jane Barley '05 said.

Barley conceded, however, that she knew little of the weekend's other planned events.

She is not alone.

"I just heard there's a big procession goes down to the bonfire, and a football game or something," Charles Baron '05 said.Leland Begay '05 said most of what he knows about Homecoming Weekend concerns the bonfire and "all the drinking."In fact, past Homecoming weekends did boast higher-than-average numbers of alcohol policy violations. This pattern is part of the reason freshmen will likely see more Safety and Security officers patrolling the campus this weekend than during the regular academic year.

Security will also be tightened because of the greater number of people expected to be present on campus -- a fact of which most freshmen did appear to be cognizant.

"I expect it'll be a little crazy. I've heard that a lot of people from all over will show up," Barley said.

Originally intended as a time to remember alumni and read their telegrams from around the world, Homecoming now serves as an opportunity for graduates in the vicinity of the College to return and relive the revelry of their college days.

The large numbers of alumni that do return to the College during Homecoming serve as a testament to the importance of the weekend.

Still, some freshmen expressed surprise at the emphasis placed on the event. "I didn't think that this college would take it so seriously," Begay said.

Others see the weekend as fitting with the enthusiasm exhibited by much of the student body.

"People seem very into the school," Barley said, "so it makes sense that it's a big deal."

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