Less Homecoming hoopla at other colleges

by Ashley Zuzek | 10/21/05 5:00am

Homecoming at Dartmouth is a widely anticipated event for many students, but not all colleges share a similar sense of excitement and tradition.

Dartmouth's Homecoming is particularly unique among Homecoming celebrations of other schools because of its strong focus on students; from the bonfire to the football game, Homecoming is a highlight of the fall.

At other Ivy League schools, Homecoming is largely an alumni affair. At the University of Pennsylvania, activities are not targeted directly towards the current students. Festivities include alumni galas, academic seminars, museum tours and music performances.

"People are pretty excited about the concert they are having that weekend with a great A Capella Group, but no one really talks about the game," University of Pennsylvania student Eric Van Nostrand said.

Homecoming at Harvard University is even more remote to the students -- so much, in fact, that some students are convinced it does not even exist. Instead, their football season thrives around the Harvard-Yale game. The game that displays the intense rivalry between the two schools is distinguished by great enthusiasm, much like Dartmouth's Homecoming.

"I don't think we have a Homecoming," Harvard student Nancy Cole said. "Harvard-Yale is our equivalent."

At Washington University of St. Louis, Homecoming coincides with parents' weekend -- resulting, not surprisingly, in even less enthusiasm for the event.

"The football team is so bad here that no one outside of the frat guys knew it was Homecoming until the team had already lost," Wash. U. student David Barlow said. "I mean, there were probably around 200 people including parents at the football game."

Homecoming, it appears, remains inconsequential at colleges that do not have thrive on football. At other schools, the event is quite extravagant. Homecoming at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, for example, is a community affair.

"Homecoming is a very special event for both IUP and the Indiana community, offering something for everyone, from the 'Kidz Karnival' to the parade to the football game," Mary Jo Lyttle, head of the school's alumni association, said.

Events for IUP's Homecoming focus much more on the community than on the students. The parade, picnic, carnival and various alumni events do not involve the student body, but the event is recognized and anticipated.

Enthusiasm for Homecoming weekend that best matches that for Dartmouth's is found perhaps only at larger state schools, where football is a central part of student life. These schools, however, lack the alumni intensity found at smaller schools. At Dartmouth, however, old tradition intersects with young enthusiasm to create an unforgettable weekend for all involved.

Advertise your student group in The Dartmouth for free!