Rain or shine, Homecoming combines alum, family, food and fun
Food, music, sports games and chatter filled the campus Sept. 27 – 30, but all of the hubbub had one thing in common: community. This year, Homecoming and Family Weekend 2012 brought students, faculty, staff, alumni, families and the community together.
“I think that what the campus is trying to do, and what we’re trying to do as a whole, is to create that community aspect and really bring us all together,” said Liz Hansen, associate director of annual giving for parent relations, who served on the Homecoming and Family Weekend planning committee.
This is only the second year that Homecoming and Family Weekend have been combined.
“Parents enjoy (the combination) because they get to see their kids and alumni coming back and celebrating their alma mater,” said Hansen.
One classic way to kick off the homecoming celebration was with “The Element: Homecoming Edition” on Sept. 27. Students, alums and community members gathered in the Community Center to hear comedy sets, songs and poetry readings. Senior Beau Young took the stage with several original songs, and junior Jodie Geddes performed three of her own spoken word pieces.
Senior Tim Leisman, Community Senate President, manned a table for voter registration throughout the evening.
“(The Element) was a great networking (event) for people that I knew before,” Geddes said. “I got to know a lot more about them, and I appreciated that. I think it was a plus having voter registration in a space like this because that’s not typically something you see happening.”
The next night, the Guilford College 2002 Men’s Golf team was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame. The team was recognized for their excellence in winning the 2002 NCAA Division III National Golf Championship.
“Throughout my career, I’ve been inducted into several Hall of Shames, and even a few Walk of Shames, but this is my first Hall of Fame, so I’m really excited to be here,” said 2002 men’s golf team member Andrew Eversole ’02 at the ceremony.
The 2002 team was led by the late Coach Jack Jensen, who was fondly remembered during the ceremony.
“I learned a lot about life here (at Guilford),” said 2002 men’s golf team member Harrison Pinnix ’04. “(Coming here) was the best decision I ever made.”
The Theatre Department Showcase took place Friday and Saturday nights and included songs, monologues and films by students and alumni. Showcase Director Jack Zerbe, director of study abroad and professor of theatre studies, had building community in mind when designing the production.
“All the actors (were) on stage the entire time because I wanted the feel of ‘we are a community of performing artists,’” said Zerbe.
Friday night’s performance featured special guest Minnette Coleman ’73, a successful writer and actress who was in town to kick off events for the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of integration entitled “Journeys in Blackness.” Coleman performed a monologue she wrote about her experiences at Guilford.
A modest crowd braved the rain for the Community Party on Saturday afternoon, where a photo booth and bouncy castle stole the show. Cotton candy, snow cones and the traditional burgers and hot dogs kept tailgaters busy as they tried to keep dry and waited for the Homecoming football game.
“We were worried that it would rain during the game, but the skies held their water right before the game started,” said cheerleader and first-year Dina Rasul in an email interview.
“I think since it was Homecoming and Family Weekend, (the game) had a very good turnout,” said cheerleader and first-year Morgan Rudd in an email interview. “From what I could see, the stands looked pretty packed.”
Though Guilford faced a 21-42 loss to Washington Lee, the Quakers kept high spirits.
“The Quakers put up a good fight,” Rudd said. “They really put in extra effort as the clock ran out.”
The last event of the weekend was the Woods Walk, where senior Sam Kelly led a group of students, alumni and Friends down to the “Underground Railroad tree” in the Guilford College Woods.
According to Kelly, the tree is “symbolic for the woods because it represents Guilford’s history participating with the Underground Railroad, and the tree represents the Underground Railroad itself because (the woods area) is the southernmost point of (the Underground Railroad).”
The story goes that Quakers used to hang baskets of food out in the woods to aid fleeing slaves during the Civil War, and so the Woods Walk truly brought Guilford back to its roots of community.
Rasul said it best: “Homecoming weekend at Guilford is a showcase of what our college is made of and fosters the truth behind the tight-knit community that we have here.”