Homecoming is back: Carrying on beloved historical traditions

People+stand+outside+the+Colorado+State+University+Lory+Student+Center+to+watch+the+homecoming+bonfire+before+the+firework+display+and+lighting+of+the+A+Oct.+8.+%28Garrett+Mogel+%7C+The+Collegian%29

Collegian | Garrett Mogel

People stand outside the Colorado State University Lory Student Center to watch the Homecoming bonfire before the firework display and lighting of the A Oct. 8, 2021.

Emmalee Krieg, Staff Reporter

Homecoming is back, and like many Colorado State University traditions, it’s still going strong. After a not-so-conventional Homecoming in previous years due to COVID-19, staff and students alike are as ready as ever to start the celebration. 

Events kick off Oct. 13 and continue through Oct. 15. On Friday, the Festival on The Oval starts at 3 p.m. and goes until 6 p.m, moving into Friday Night Lights, which runs from 6-8:30 p.m. 

Ad

It’s important to first acknowledge that during the height of the COVID pandemic, Homecoming weekend wasn’t held in traditional fashion.

“The ‘pep’ is certainly warranted. It’s time to get back in the swing of things, and the students are starting to feel it.”

“The past two years with COVID has just been really wishy-washy for everyone,” said Aleiah Jasper, a third-year CSU student working at the Campus Activities office. “So personally, I think Friday Night Lights is gonna be exciting for a lot of us.”

She commented on the attitudes around campus leading up to Homecoming weekend.

“There’s a little more pep in everyone’s step,” Jasper said.

The “pep” is certainly warranted. It’s time to get back in the swing of things, and the students are starting to feel it.

“I think honestly the pandemic has kind of altered things and changed things slightly, and we’re now just kind of finding our way back,” CSU professor Darrell Blair said.

To him, Homecomings are slightly less boisterous than they used to be. “To me, they seem tamer in this era,” Blair said.

Maybe it’s because the 1990s are a tough act to follow, or maybe the focus of Homecoming in general has shifted.

“Let’s tamp down on the student drinking; let’s tamp down on kind of the overall party atmosphere and instead focus on more kind of the connective bridge between alumni and our institution,” Blair said. 

“I think it’s just, you know, trying to build more of a campus unity,” said Ben Schrader, director of CSU’s Adult Learner and Veteran Services.

Ad

Schrader graduated with his bachelor’s degree from CSU in 2009 and his master’s in 2011.

“I think it’s more organized now; they’re doing a lot more bigger events,” Schrader said.

While the focus has maybe shifted away from rowdiness, it certainly hasn’t discouraged students from continuing the school spirit.

Decorations still line the halls and the bonfire still lights up the night like in years past, but in the past few years, some traditions really stuck out.

Rachel Navratil, campus activities coordinator, recalled times at the Festival on The Oval, saying, “That was my favorite thing, watching the parade in The Oval.” 

Having graduated only a few years ago in 2018, Navratil hasn’t noticed much of a difference in festivities, but the family friendly nature of events seemed to stay intact.

“I think the family aspect always was really nice to see during that weekend,” Navratil said.

While Homecoming weekend has had a rocky time the last couple of years, the buildup for this year’s is big. 

Events can change and dates can be switched, but connections built between Rams present and past are long-lasting.

“I think it’s really cool that CSU has so many cool traditions, especially surrounding, like, Homecoming and stuff,” Jasper said. “It brings you closer to alumni.”

Reach Emmalee Krieg at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian