Homecoming weekend bridges the past and present

Every year, new and returning students look forward to Serendipity in the spring.

But what does the fall have to offer?

The answer is Homecoming — a weekend full of music, food, sports, art and much more.

This year’s Homecoming lured many returning faces back to the Guilford College campus.

Although festivities happened throughout the day on Friday, the real party began at sundown with jazz music by the lake, sponsored by the Center for Continuing Education.

Folks gathered into a large, white tent to escape the icy downpour and even less forgiving wind. Artist Reesa Renee began to perform, drowning out the sound of rain on the plastic tent. Freeport Jazz and Guilford’s own The Blue Roots Experiment rounded out the show.

“The jazz festival was awesome,” said Daniel Nolan ’14, paying homage to the CCE department. “They should do that more often.”

Saturday hallmarked the peak of the weekend, with sporting events and tailgating taking place from morning to night. Homecoming is traditionally centered around football, but you do not have to be a sports fan to appreciate the affair.

”(Homecoming) is about the overall community at the school and supporting each other,” said Matt Dilascio ’14. “Football just happens to be a part of it.”

Family and friends of alumni also participated in the fun, fostering community beyond the campus boundaries.

Laura Milo ’09 and Jordan Sutton ’14 said their parents met through tailgating and are good friends now.

“You’re building relationships, which is the heart and soul of a liberal arts education,” said Milo.

Recently, comparisons have been made between Homecoming and Serendipity, which alumni have been quick to rebut.

For Wesley Elam ’96, who DJ’d the pre-game tailgate, Homecoming is more like a big family reunion.

“Serendipity is just a free-for-all to do whatever the hell you want for however many days,” said Elam. “Alumni might try and relive it, but they’re going to feel it the next day.”

“(Homecoming) is just good-natured fun,” said Milo. “There’s nothing foolish going on.”

Between Quake Talks, art exhibitions and banquets, Homecoming does have a highbrow air to it that Serendipity lacks.

“It’s really a celebration of the liberal arts,” said Senior Director of Alumni Relations Karrie Jo Manson ’82,

“We all know that we have to get better about helping students make the connection between liberal arts and the next steps. That’s a nuanced conversation and that is what this is really about.”

What administration wants is for Homecoming to connect alumni with current students. Beyond the fun and games, there are many opportunities for them to learn from their predecessors.

“We want to make visible and known what (being an) alumni really means,” said Assistant Director of Alumni Relations Miriam Biber ’02. “We want to make it tangible.”

This past weekend seemed to do that job adequately, with room for improvement. One recurring theme throughout the weekend was a wish from graduates that more of their classmates had shown up.

“It would be great if more alumni came out next year,” said Milo. “There really aren’t that many here.

Perhaps, if current students continue to participate in the event on a yearly basis, they can maintain enthusiasm until it is time for their own Homecoming.