MARIA M. SILVA,Spec.Assignments Reporter
This year’s Homecoming weekend was the most attended, according to Mark Kovacs, executive director of alumni relations and head of the Homecoming Committee.
Alumni Relations estimated that this year’s Homecoming exceeded 2,000 attendees as students, family and alumni gathered at Utica College for a weekend of reunion, carnival and sporting events.
The most attended event was the Football game on Saturday, where the Pioneers played against SUNY Cortland.
“More than 3,000 people attended it, you couldn’t even get a seat,” Kovacs said.
Another event that was crowded was the “For the Culture” party on Saturday night, organized by the Black Student Union and the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity with more than 300 attendees. Other events such as the public relations conference held in the Library Concourse on Sept. 28 registered 119 attendees, and the dedication of the new Thurston building received more than 200 people, according to Kovacs.
Fran Lucia, coordinator of Student Living and College Engagement for events and services was on the planning committee for Homecoming.
“This was my 15th homecoming, and to see all the alumni come back, even faculty and staff members that have been away for a while, was amazing,” Lucia expressed.
Lucia was in charge of events such as the carnival, and also played her part by organizing the fresh lemonade, popcorn and cotton candy that was provided for the carnival visitors, as well as the Build-a-Moose event and the illusionist among others.
Areas of improvement, according to Lucia, would have been starting the events on Friday “an hour or two later by the time everybody comes in because when the carnival started at 8 o’clock the place was packed.”
Mark Kovacs also mentioned a few elements that could have been done differently.
“The Pretty Big Movement event featuring Akira could have had more attendance,” he said. “She came and travelled internationally with her dance crew. They were practicing on Friday night for four hours for their Saturday performance, and I expected the lounge to be completely full, particularly of students, and there might have been 40-50 people who attended. I would have probably incorporated more students in making sure they could help spread the word.”
For Kovacs, Homecoming weekend has many positive impacts on all visitors that come to UC.
“Celebrating who we are and even though we are diverse in many ways, the one thing that everybody has in common and that helps bring them closer together is being proud to be part of Utica College.”
Fran Lucia sees Homecoming weekend as a very important opportunity, especially for new students, as “having all of those alumni come back gives them a sense of pride and a sense of belonging to a community that wants to come back home.” She also enjoyed Homecoming on a more personal level as she got to reunite with former students from years ago.
“To watch them grow and hear about their professional lives now is exciting,” Lucia said. “Homecoming is the most important event on campus for me.”
Junior Eufranny Castillo stated that “this year’s Homecoming did not compare to any other” that she has been to.
“There was so much going on at the campus, you could never actually be bored, but the carnival was the best part,” Castillo said.
Besides the carnival, the junior also attended UC’s Homecoming football versus SUNY Cortland, where she was able to see her friends and meet new people as well.
Thinking about next year’s Homecoming weekend, Castillo suggested that the college have better carnival rides.
She also expressed that the number of events going on at the same time made it difficult for her to decide what to do.
“There was way too much, you could not pick where to go first,” she said.
Castillo also liked seeing alumni “who enjoyed their stay at Utica College and still come back.”
There’s a lot of food, events, a football game and good company,” she said. “It is a time where students and alumni come together with ultimate school spirit, it’s just a fun weekend.”