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The Dartmouth
May 28, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Homecoming weekend has more than 20 events scheduled

As of Thursday, the Homecoming bonfire was still in the process of being built.
As of Thursday, the Homecoming bonfire was still in the process of being built.

From members of the Class of 2015 who graduated only four months ago to former students returning now with their families, the Dartmouth Night Ceremony and Homecoming bonfire are expected to draw 5,000 to 8,000 alumni this weekend, alumni relations communications project manager Rachel Hastings said. More than 20 different events are on the Homecoming weekend schedule, including the Dartmouth Night parade, the Homecoming football game, lectures and class reunions, she said.

The parade that the Class of 2019 follows prior to the bonfire will take a new route around campus, Hastings said. She noted that the bonfire and the parade are the two biggest events besides the football game.

For this year’s Homecoming football game, the Big Green will compete against Yale University at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. Hastings said nearly 10,000 people are expected to attend, as the game is the biggest draw for alumni.

Hastings said Homecoming is earlier this year than in the past — last year the event was on Oct. 17 and 18. Due to both the more optimal time for fall foliage and the holiday weekend — Columbus Day is Monday — more alumni than usual are expected to return to the College this weekend, she said. The warmer fall weather is also likely to bring out more alumni, she said.

Hastings said that in an effort to encourage alumni families to attend Homecoming, the College is hosting more events geared toward children. A new event on Saturday, called Touch-A-Truck, will feature fire trucks, police cars and other vehicles from the Upper Valley community on the Green for children to play on and climb, in addition to the annual scavenger hunt, she added.

Graduates of the Class of 2015 will return to Hanover to celebrate their first Homecoming as alumni for the “Year Zero Reunion.”

“We’re trying to encourage people to learn about our different programs and be connected with Dartmouth through clubs and affiliated groups and travel opportunities,” Hastings said.

Association of alumni president Susan Finegan ’85 and “Moving Dartmouth Forward” presidential steering committee chair and English professor Barbara Will will lead a panel about the “Moving Dartmouth Forward” policy initiative on Saturday.

“This is really geared toward alumni to update them on what has been going on,” Hastings said. “So, some of the panelists are alumni who are involved. It’s not about announcing anything new — it’s sort of a recap of the changes that have already been implemented.”

Finegan said the hope is to reach a large audience of alumni and others who are unclear on how “Moving Dartmouth Forward” is being implemented. She added that an administrator from the dean’s office will discuss how students have been involved in the initiative in the past year.

“This weekend would be another opportunity for alums to come back to the college, and this would be a good way to engage alums and update them on the past year,” she said. “I don’t think anything will come as a surprise.”

Alumni council president Jennifer Avellino ’89 said many alumni have fond memories of Homecoming and the bonfire from their time at the College and enjoy seeing new freshmen experiencing Homecoming for the first time.

“It’s a treat to get to Hanover no matter when you go, but I think people have wonderful memories of the bonfire and the feeling of being in Hanover on Dartmouth night,” she said.

Due to the date change, the six-week ban on first-year students entering Greek houses will extend through the weekend. Responses from the eight freshmen interviewed for this article were mixed.

Gwendolyn Howard ’19 said that there are many other events to go to during homecoming that are not at fraternities.

“You have three and a half years to go to frats if you want to,” she said. “Also, like of all weekends, Homecoming is the one where there is most stuff is going on and the least necessity to go into a [fraternity] to find something to do.”

Rachel Martin ’19 said the ban could increase safety, but also restricts options for freshmen during Homecoming.

John Kotz ’19 said the ban’s effect could vary from person to person.

“I think it’s a good and bad idea,” Kotz said. “It’s a good idea because it keeps people out of one of the craziest times of [fraternity] activity, but also that forces people to get drunk by themselves, which can be a little bit more dangerous, so it varies.”

Avellino said she is looking forward to Homecoming, as it is a reminder of her experiences as an undergraduate at Dartmouth.

“I think it’s the same for everyone — no matter how often you get to Hanover, it’s a really special moment,” she said.