Homecoming Weekend means different things for different people. For some, it means tailgating; for others, fundraising; some come for the football, and still others spend the weekend begging well-to-do alumni for jobs during down economies.
For lots of U of C students, the most meaningful part of Homecoming Weekend—which starts today—is probably the free, all-you-can-eat picnic, but there will be a lot more than barbecuing going on this weekend. Tonight the College Programming Office is holding a banner-making competition; if your banner evinces enough Maroon spirit and is free of all “images, verbiage, or innuendos which could be deemed inappropriate or profane,” it could mean $250 for you and your banner-making teammates. Finish your banner in time, and you can participate in either “the ULTIMATE game of Capture the Flag” or the “Ultimate CAPTURE THE FLAG Game” (depending on which flier you consult), and tomorrow, you can even watch the Homecoming game!
The offer of free food, free t-shirts for the first 500 students at the picnic, and the mass e-mails about Homecoming won’t pique everyone’s interest, but there’s good reason for the University to try, however clumsily, to draw us all in. Homecoming can mean different things for each of us, but it’s ultimately about creating and sustaining a U of C community—something that’s meaningful to all of us, as well as to thousands of U of C students who preceded us.
Colleges and universities are deliberately communal places; the very existence of an institution like the U of C is predicated upon the idea that scholars and students benefit from working cooperatively in an environment that crosses disciplinary and generational divides. In its day-to-day existence, the U of C can seem to fragment into departments and dorms and dining halls and houses, and as divides deepen, our experience at the University becomes that much poorer.
The U of C is unusual in that we don’t have many events that involve broad portions of the student body or alumni base. We don’t have an all-encompassing sports scene, or massive pep rallies, or parties that pack in every last student. Homecoming is one of the few times students and alumni come together in any significant numbers, and even if Capture the Flag and football aren’t your games, Homecoming still has something for everyone: An all-too-rare sense of community and pride built around the school which has meant so much to so many of us.
—The Maroon Editorial Board consits of the Editor-in-Chief, Viewpoints Editors, and an Editorial Board member.