Bradley’s Homecoming Week is an event that has united students and alumni together for school pride in past years, but this year uniting will be physically distant.
“We developed a hybrid style plan this year,” Abbey McComb, the ACBU homecoming chair, said. “People can come in-person within capacity limits and virtually as well and we hope that Homecoming Week can still happen with these plans in place.”
McComb, a sophomore medical laboratory science major, said she and others on ACBU planned homecoming with new regulations in mind early on in the process.
“We started talking about virtual aspects [of homecoming] during the spring,” McComb said. “We are using this experience to make events as inclusive as possible and we want the students to really want to come.”
For McComb, the most challenging aspect through all of this is dealing with the unknown variables during the ongoing pandemic.
“With everything going on, we started planning homecoming the very beginning of the spring and continued planning through quarantine, not knowing whether we were going to be on campus,” McComb said.
The Homecoming Week’s activities start Sept. 25, two days after the university’s two-week quarantine was announced to end.
The Painting of the Lydias will take place on Sept. 25 at 2 p.m. outside near the statue of Lydia, but social distancing will be enforced.
No activities will be planned for Monday, as Yom Kippur will be observed. Tuesday there will be virtual Drag Queen bingo.
Wednesday and Thursday will be a two-part version of the Homecoming Pageant on Olin Quad, where everyone is invited to watch. Friday will be the Lighting of the B, which will be celebrated with a fireworks show and a streamed concert as an in-person event.
Saturday will be a two-part finale where there will be a Walkathon with the Black Student Alliance (BSA) and a hygiene drive for the Center for Prevention of Abuse. Participants will be asked to donate one hygiene product to participate. At 9 p.m., there will be a “Fall under the Stars” stargazing event to end Homecoming Week.
Another regular aspect of Homecoming is the alumni participation, and while it is not possible to allow large amounts of visitors to campus this year, some can still participate virtually through a Zoom and digital forum
“We have engaged faculty and staff on campus to host certain events and are including fun elements of virtual social interaction like a live classmate chat for our 1970 graduates and a panel of current students talking about life on campus during a pandemic,” Rachel Flessner, assistant director of alumni relations, said.
Alumni can attend a virtual Bradley Paint Night, an 1897 Legacy Society Social Hour, a sunrise yoga event on Oct. 3, a virtual golf tournament facilitated through the 18Birdies app and a Best Dressed Pet Contest and Lydia’s Coloring Contest for kids 12 and under that will be online as well.
Flessner is confident these events and activities will still connect alumni from different locations.
“We feel strongly that providing virtual events allows our team to engage our entire alumni base, not just those who are local,” Flessner said. “We are very excited about the prospect of continuing to host a virtual speaker series, trivia nights and fun contests via social media that are focused on connecting with alumni who live anywhere in the world.”