The Transition: Homecoming at Howard
“Homecoming: Looking Back”
Homecoming this year was an interesting transition for me. It was my first “Official” Homecoming as an alumna, but I wasn’t really “coming home” because I haven’t left. The irony of this failed to escape me the entire week. However, It did give me an interesting perspective; both as an alumna and a graduate student. Homecoming at Howard is pretty segregated at most activities between current students and alumni. The Howard Homecoming Steering Committee (HSC) delivered what I consider to be the best Homecoming since my freshmen year. It had diverse programming and talents that catered to different audiences. It seemed that most of these events were filled with current students, while most alumni attended separate events thrown by event promoters and alumni clubs. I also noticed that there weren’t many graduate students at the events.
I have always attended most of the HSC events, so it was normal for me to do it this year. Their events are also a lot cheaper than the alumni sponsored events which can run anywhere from a $30 party to a $165 fundraiser for scholarships. As an early career alumna and graduate student, I wanted to get the most “bang” for my buck so I went to the events that were the least expensive: the HSC events. Maybe next year I will step my game up and attend more of the “grown and sophisticated” events, if I can afford them or can volunteer. I was told that some alumni come with $1500 to spend Homecoming weekend, I can only dream of that luxury. But, I also wonder how many students could have stayed in school after the purge date if that money was spent on scholarships, or how many buildings could become wireless or air conditioned?
In terms of the graduate and professional school population, I believe that Homecoming just kind of snuck up on some of them. I think it is taken for granted that “everyone” knows when Howard’s Homecoming takes place. I overheard one freshman say he has known since August and has been preparing since then. I wonder how many of my colleagues knew since August or even knew when tickets were available. Most of my cohort doesn’t read the Hilltop, it’s not because we don’t want to; there just aren’t any left in Douglass Hall by the time we start classes in the evenings. I don’t recall many posters when tickets went on sale, but I probably wouldn’t have noticed. Most of us go to class and then leave; thus, if the poster is not in our classroom the chances that we will see it are slim. We receive most of our campus news through our personal emails via student council listservs and through announcements in class, not through the same means that undergraduates are informed.
As an Alumna who is still at “home,” I wasn’t coming back to anything, so I didn’t really miss Howard or campus life. But, I did get a chance to see all of my friends from undergrad who I no longer am blessed with seeing every day. I took their presence for granted, but Homecoming was an excellent way to stay connected and remember the people who truly kept me grounded. Graduation was nearly half a year ago, but it feels like forever.
Howard’s Homecoming is always grand, which I am extremely proud of! It seems like Black America comes home to pay homage to Mecca with us as well (which to that I say SHOW HOWARD THE MONEY)! But, to see generations of Bison all gathered in one place makes me hold my head up even higher and be even more honored to be called a Howardite. So, I didn’t mind standing in the rain until the end of the Homecoming game just to sing the Alma Mater and say proudly “When from thee we’ve gone away, may we strive for thee each day…..O Howard We Sing of Thee!” Because that line to me is what Homecoming is all about. Continuing to strive for leadership, excellence, service, and truth and being dedicated to not only renew our legacy, but to provide visionary leadership for America and the Global Community!—-The Howard Way.