Homecoming will return to the University of Arizona this week, Oct. 31-Nov. 6 featuring events such as a bonfire, the crowning of royalty, lighting “A” mountain and class reunions.
The theme of homecoming this year is “Wildcats Come Together,” reflecting the return of in-person homecoming festivities after most events last year were conducted virtually due to COVID-19.
The homecoming celebration kicks off with the lighting of “A” Mountain and a Halloween celebration on Oct. 31 from 5-6:30. This event can be viewed at the Mercado San Agustin Annex on 267 South Avenida del Convento or through a live stream on Arizona Alumni’s YouTube channel.
Another major event planned for the week is the Homecoming Olympics, a three-day event with both virtual and in-person competitions. According to Zoe Meyers, member of the Bobcats Senior Honorary in charge of organizing the Homecoming Olympics, the in-person contests take place on the mall from 12-1 p.m. and 7-8 p.m. and are open to any student organization on campus. They will include a water balloon toss and sponge relay on Tuesday, a game of capture the Wilbur and Wilma on Wednesday, and a mud tug on Thursday. The virtual competitions are trivia contests.
Meyers noted that Homecoming Olympics is partnered with Campus Pantry to raise money to fight food insecurity on campus. This goal reflects the mission of the Bobcats to make this year’s homecoming more inclusive and supportive of the UA community.
“We changed the name from Club Olympics to homecoming Olympics...we have been trying to make it a lot more inclusive towards everyone on campus because we want everyone to be able to participate,” Meyers said. “We also had a pie-eating contest and this year we decided to change that because it felt wrong to waste food when we’re talking about food insecurity and raising donations for that.”
Social media has been used as a form of outreach and engagement this year. Amaya de Gennaro, social media chair for the Bobcats Senior Honorary, explained that many homecoming activities will take place over social media, like an Instagram story bingo game that she hopes will help students to feel more involved and excited about homecoming. For the virtual aspect of the Homecoming Olympics, Gennaro explains that there will be a superhero theme, where students can nominate their organizations’ “superheroes”.
Gennaro also repeated the desire for an inclusive environment that Meyers expressed, and explained that social media could be used as a tool for this goal.
“I think social media is really important for reaching out to those people who aren’t already established in an organization or group on campus,” Gennaro said. “I want them to know they’re welcome at our events and homecoming in general.”
More events on the lineup for homecoming include a tailgate, alumni awards ceremony, commencement ceremony, and crowning of homecoming royalty.
The Wildcat for Life Tailgate Party is another important homecoming tradition, and will take place Nov. 6 at 8 a.m., four hours before the start of the football game against the University of California-Berkeley. The tailgate will include a variety of student performers, like the UArizona club cheer team and student musicians.
Another special feature of homecoming this year will be a commencement ceremony for the class of 2020, which did not get a graduation ceremony because of COVID-19.
The bonfire and crowning of homecoming royalty are time-honored traditions at the UA, and will occur on Friday, Nov. 5 at Old Main Fountain at 7:30. Gennaro encourages all students to take part in the crowning of royalty because every student has a voice in who becomes king and queen.
“I would love for everyone to vote for homecoming king and queen,” Gennaro said. “That’s something everyone can have an input on.”
Students of Bobcats Senior Honorary and members of the Alumni Association have organized many events and activities for the UA community this homecoming, with a mission centered around inclusivity, engagement, and celebration.
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