Fireworks, tailgating, kings and queens. It’s time for Homecoming on the Hilltop.
It’s a long-standing tradition at schools across the country and at Bradley, the week-long extravaganza is marked by a 4-foot wide, 8-foot tall “B” that sits atop Bradley Hall for a number of days.
But Homecoming at Bradley hardly feels like a major event anymore. This year, students are only given a few events to choose from each day of the week.
The most exciting event of the week, the Lighting of the B, takes place on Monday, leaving students to decide between activities like the “Bradley Dash” (reminiscent of “The Amazing Race”) or their usual antics on Fredonia Avenue or Farmington Road Tuesday through Friday.
Take a guess as to which will be the more popular option.
Today, the week is kicked off with the annual “Painting of the Lydias” event, in which student organizations paint a plywood cutout of the university’s foundress. But it’s an event that only engages student groups and it’s the only thing planned for today. Next Friday’s big (and only) event is a mentalist duo but, how is this different than the hypnotist performance during Welcome Week? Besides, what relevance does a mentalist have to Bradley tradition?
Now, to address the elephant in the room. Bradley’s Homecoming Week and Family Weekend are combined something The Scout can’t help but feel is counterproductive. How are students expected to tailgate and cheer on the soccer team while also spending time with their families on Bradley’s campus and the Peoria area?
Yes. The answer is money. But shouldn’t the Homecoming game be considered more … sacred? It certainly is at other universities.
At the University of Iowa, Saturday is called “Game Day,” and it’s a big tradition on campus. But consider a school without a football team, like Creighton University. Their “Homecoming game” is a soccer game, as well, but the big day is chock full of activities like golf cart races, tailgates, brewery tours and trolley tours of Omaha.
We don’t mean to sound unappreciative, but we’re concerned. There seems to be, all around, a lack of administrative support and interest to what the Activities Council of Bradley University (ACBU) is able to plan. And it tells the student body that Bradley can’t quite pull together a strong, united identity.
By separating the two events, students would no longer have to choose between attending Family Weekend events and participating in Homecoming Week activities.
If students remember their undergraduate Homecoming celebrations as boring, disengaging and lacking, why would they want to return to the Hilltop as alumni?