Briana Greco, Features Editor
Homecoming weekend has come and gone again at Utica College as students, parents, faculty and alumni gathered for numerous different events and activities on and off campus.
The homecoming committee works to organize activities that appeal to each group of people while still providing an open, fun environment for students to network with alumni and parents to see the campus and meet faulty.
Executive Director of Alumni Relations and Advancement Mark Kovacs, head of the homecoming committee, talked about how the planning for homecoming starts right after the last one ends, which means plans for last weekends events and activities were already in the works last November.
Kovacs explained how the goal of the homecoming events is to have the opportunity for students and their families to connect with UC alumni, some of which have graduated recently and others up to fifty years ago.
“It’s great because you are walking around at different events and you see alumni from the 50’s and 60’s, and they are talking with current students about their experience,” said Kovacs. “To me, what homecoming is is just bringing the entire family together.”
There were several events that had huge turnouts.
The college also held events geared towards alumni to honor their achievements and welcome them back to campus. Kovacs also explained how the Golden Pioneer Luncheon was the alumni highlight of the weekend.
“It is an intimate lunch with the president of the college with people that graduated 50 years ago or more, and we recognize them and their achievements,” Kovacs said.
Several of the events leading up to the traditional homecoming football game were focused on inclusion of all groups on campus.
“One of the few times that we fully get the mass together would be the pre-game tailgate and we had almost 600 people register just for that event, so it was amazing watching everyone together for that,” Kovacs said.
He also talked about how the success of the weekend truly showed at the football game, where there was limited room to stand and barely a place to sit due to all the fans.
“After the tailgate, if you walked over to the football game to watch, there was no place to find another seat, it was so packed,” Kovacs said. “I think the newspaper said there were about 2,000 people there, not including everyone on the hill, so that to me was really the icing on the cake for the weekend.”
Kovacs explained that after people were sure of the nice weather, the number of registrations for events skyrocketed.
“What really pushed us over the edge was the weather forecast,” he said. “When people saw it was 72 degrees on Saturday all of a sudden every night we were getting 100 to 150 more additional registrations. It was really nice to see students with their families and younger siblings so excited to be here for the weekend.”
Students and alumni also enjoyed the homecoming festivities.
Senior Jaida Degristina said the pre-game tailgate was one of her favorite parts of the weekend.
“I really just love when everyone can come together and have a good time,” Degristina said. “I loved walking through the parking lot from tent to tent to see my friends and teachers and even alumni who were all so inviting and friendly.”
She also could not believe the crowd turnout for the game and said she couldn’t find a seat in the stands after the first quarter started.
“We showed up a little late to the game and there was not one seat in the stands,” Degristina said. “My friends and I ended up standing behind one of the fences on the sides, but it was awesome to see everyone come together.”
Alumnus Elliott Coleman traveled from New York City to stay the weekend in Utica just for homecoming. He graduated this past May with a degree in communications and said he could not miss the opportunity to see all his friends and professors.
“Even though I just left in May, it was so nice to come back with a different perspective after being gone,” Coleman said. “Seeing my fellow classmates who also graduated and my friends who still go to UC, it was definitely the best time that I would come home every year for.”