2020 Homecoming still up in the air amid coronavirus

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Photo by Maria Montero Silva

Maria Montero Silva, Editor-in-Chief

The Homecoming planning committee begins planning activities almost a year ahead of the big event that brings hundreds to Utica College every fall. 

Scheduled for October 2, 3 and 4, and with six months left until UC’s Homecoming, organizers are working for an event that is still up in the air.

“It’s disheartening,” said Mark Kovacs, executive director of alumni and parent relations. “Especially when so many people are excited about it. 

The Homecoming committee has reviewed 14 event proposals and come up with a plan. However, Kovacs said that social distancing may last longer than a month although he said he hopes the UC community can get back together by October.

“The not-knowing is frustrating,” Kovacs said. 

He said after all the planning that goes into Homecoming, he enjoys taking a moment to watch people having a good time during the event and knowing that he has helped make it possible.

“You stand back and look and realize that a lot of people work really hard to make the opportunity for people to get together a reality,” Kovacs said.

Class and Affinity Reunion Coordinator Kim Landon said the campus closure didn’t affect the Homecoming planning process since a brochure hasn’t been printed yet, but she is unsure how long social distancing is going to last. 

The particularity of UC’s Homecoming is that there are a lot of people “who do the same events every year,” so they can put together events fairly quickly if social distancing and non-essential travel restrictions get lifted in the summer.

“If it doesn’t get lifted early, we could have a version of Homecoming,” she said. “It’s sad and frustrating, but I tend to be hopeful. If nothing else, we’ll probably have a big celebration in October.”

The Advancement Office is now focusing on reaching out to alumni and UC members to ask for support for struggling students.

“You stand back and look and realize that a lot of people work really hard to make the opportunity for people to get together a reality.”

Mark Kovacs, executive director of alumni and parent relations

Landon said the coronavirus pandemic has brought a “huge” sense of appreciation for the simple things in life, “but I hope it lasts,” she said.

Junior Tyler McDonald said he thinks the coronavirus pandemic will possibly affect the beginning of the Fall semester, including Homecoming.

“I think that the next Fall semester will either happen later, or classes will continue online until it is safe to go back to on-campus classes,” he said. 

McDonald also said it might be better to cancel Homecoming if the pandemic continues to pose public health risks.

“The pandemic can possibly keep Homecoming from happening,” he said. “But I believe it is better to be safe than sorry.”

McDonald said his favorite memory of UC’s Homecoming is enjoying time together with other students at the attractions while putting their worries aside.

Sophomore Marwa Ben Zouina said she hopes “everything works out” and that on-ground classes resume.

She explained that the coronavirus pandemic will “naturally” cause people to become more aware and cautious about their health and their surroundings.

While Ben Zouina said she enjoys the Homecoming celebrations, including the tailgate and the football game, she also said they should be small or canceled “if the virus is still prevalent.”


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