A Recap of 2023’s Homecoming

With coming back to any college campus, homecoming is what most look forward to as a big celebration to kick off the academic year. From watching the football game to showing your Hawk pride, homecoming at Monmouth is a week long endeavor for students and faculty to enjoy. This year’s vision for homecoming was Hawk Nation, representative of the community’s Hawk pride.

The Student Government Association (SGA) is the primary organization that plans homecoming activities. SGA hosts a week of activities beginning on Monday going all the way to Saturday. Starting on Sept. 25, students gathered in Anacon Hall for the annual homecoming bingo, which is always a hit. Prizes included an iPad, Xbox, a variety of gift cards, and some Monmouth merchandize. On Sept. 26, Pie Oh My and Baked Bear parked on Circular Drive, and students a part of SGA handed out the 2023 T-shirts. SGA also hosted a Gallery Walk in the Great Hall on Sept. 27.

On Sept. 28, students celebrated Shadow the Hawk’s birthday on the Student Center Patio with cupcakes and the Pep Band playing “Happy Birthday” on repeat. Sept. 29 was another day for students to grab a homecoming T-shirt before Saturday but was canceled due to weather.

To end the week on Sept. 30, students gathered in the commuter parking lot to tailgate, and alumni took over the Great Hall before the Hawks played Lehigh for the annual homecoming football game.
Maura Foley, a junior history and secondary education major, is Vice President of SGA. Foley reflected, “My favorite part about homecoming was seeing everyone attending the week’s events!”

She continued, “Being able to see everyone come to SGA bingo was so amazing. I love seeing how competitive everyone was. I was so happy that the homecoming team’s hard work paid off.”

SGA delegates tasks to properly plan the entire week. Hridmita Hasan, a sophomore biology student and the Director of Events and Programming, explained, “Planning Homecoming was a very extensive and convoluted process. My fellow Co-Chair, Candide Tsayo and I began planning it in late March of last year and we devoted a lot of our summer to the event as well! It was constant emailing and outreach to various individuals and organizations.”

She continued, “Planning begins months in advance with weekly meetings involving various directors, student and university organizations. However, there is much work that cannot begin until everyone is back in school in the fall when classes are in session as it is summer break and many school officials are technically not working.”

However, homecoming is not just about the fun activities as there is a deeper meaning as to why homecoming is held every year. Director of Student Engagement, Vaughn Clay, Ed.D and advisor to SGA, expressed, “[Homecoming is] an opportunity to reconnect with alumni, a chance for new students to learn more about Monmouth, and for returning members to take a little time out of their hectic schedules to celebrate where they have been and hope to go in the future.”

Although New Jersey was battling rain from Tropical Storm Ophelia, students and alumni still showed up for both tailgate and football game. Alumni gathered in the Great Hall to celebrate their time at Monmouth while rejoicing with old classmates and friends.

Homecoming is also an opportunity for SGA to build relationships with other clubs on campus. Hasan expressed, “My favorite part of being Director of Events and Programming is being able to keep up with the other event committees and oversee their planning to help their vision come to life. I serve as a liaison between our advisors and the committee chairs and I want to do everything in my power to help advocate for their ideas!”

Clay agreed, “Monmouth has a strong connection to the events that make up the week of Homecoming. It’s always great to see the festive elements getting set up around campus every year. Our student clubs and organizations, athletes, alumni, faculty, and staff have consistently played an important role in sustaining this annual tradition.”

Homecoming is a tradition Monmouth University will hopefully keep for years to come.