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What homecoming means to UMN

Homecoming brings several festivities to the UMN campus each fall, but do students view it as anything special?
Image by Eleanor King
Students party along University Avenue before the Homecoming Parade on Friday, Sept. 30.

Homecoming is a time for students and alumni to celebrate on campus with parades, concerts and student-life events, but students and staff at the University of Minnesota have different perspectives on the importance of homecoming. 

Besides the homecoming football game, the Student Union and Activities planned events including a blood drive, pancake palooza, a concert and a tailgate. 

Mark Stellmack, a psychology professor who has taught at the University for 27 years, said he likes to see all the festivities surrounding homecoming and students participating in the events. Stellmack is a season ticket holder for Gophers football and said campus feels different on the day of the homecoming game. 

“Homecoming centers around that and everything comes together,” Stellmack said. “It just feels like one big team, even beyond the football team.”

Allie Parker, a third-year student at the University, said she did not participate in any homecoming events this year, but she has gone to the parade and football games. 

Although she said she has been scared of missing out on events in past years, she thinks homecoming in high school was a bigger deal than in college. 

“In high school, you know who is on the homecoming court,” Parker said. “It’s weird to have it in college. It doesn’t feel as relevant.”

Harrison Sullivan is a fourth-year student at the University who went to the football game and voted for homecoming court because he knew someone on the court. He said he did not know when the parade was happening and wished he would have gone. 

Sullivan said he thinks students use homecoming as an excuse to drink and party more than they would have otherwise. 

“We would not usually go out, but for homecoming, we did wake up and pregame at 8 a.m., which we don’t usually do for 11 a.m. games,” Sullivan said. “But it’s not really like we were celebrating for homecoming.”

Lexi Danes, a University student and server at Sally’s Saloon, said before homecoming they were anticipating the bar to be busy and filled with drunk students, especially from fraternities or sororities. 

“Towards the end of the night it can always get a little crazy,” Danes said. “But for the most part, they’re pretty polite.”

Nicole Klum, a third-year student and Phi Mu sorority member, said she looks forward to homecoming every year, despite knowing she will be exhausted by the end of the week. 

“We all kind of bond and realize that even though we all have separate chapters, we are all part of the same community,” Klum said. 

Within Greek life, homecoming is packed with activities, like a volleyball tournament, a lip-sync dance and pomping, which consists of putting tissue paper into chicken wire to make an image. Outside of Greek life events, Klum said she went to the homecoming parade and football game. 

“I’m a junior, so we haven’t won a homecoming game yet and it felt really good to finally win one,” Klum said. 

Emma Stevenson, another server at Sally’s, said she has more fun when the bar is busy, like how she anticipated it would be on homecoming gameday. 

Stevenson added Sally’s opens early for people to pregame and has more staff on for homecoming, but that is normal for any gameday. 

“The crazier it gets depends on who we are playing,” Danes said. “Like on homecoming we’re not playing Iowa or Madison. That’s when it’s a crazy weekend.”

Sullivan said he does not know what the University could do to make homecoming a bigger deal, but instead, students would need to make a change in attitude. 

“I feel like it doesn’t matter to me what the U says,” Sullivan said. “It’s more if my friends care then I would start to care, and I don’t know how you incite that.”

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