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Homecoming gets even livelier
Student involvement ramps up with a week of festivities

| 24 September 2003

 

students

The organizers of Student Homecoming are plainly excited about their contribution to a weeklong celebration of all that is Cal. This year’s festivities, the first student-organized event of its kind in nearly 40 years, complement the traditional Homecoming & Parents Weekend. Christina Brittain photo
 

For many people, the word homecoming conjures up images of kings and queens, sweetheart dances, and football games. But for those attending this year’s student homecoming at Berkeley, the word is more likely to evoke a Battle of the Brains between faculty and students, a colloquium featuring four Nobel laureates, and … a football game.

Student Homecoming 2003 is the first campuswide student homecoming since 1964. Sponsored by the California Alumni Association, this year’s weeklong celebration includes more than 50 events showcasing the academic, cultural, social, and athletic diversity of Cal. Dozens of student groups and other campus organizations have planned activities and will serve as hosts, participants, volunteers, and donors throughout the week of festivities.

“One of the things that I’ve been most impressed with is the tremendous support we’ve received from the campus community,” said Matt Aguiar, Overall Chair of Student Homecoming and a junior studying economics. “In just six months, we’ve been able to put together a comprehensive and exciting schedule of events.”

Over the past seven years, Homecoming & Parents Weekend has become a popular Cal family event, attracting as many as 6,500 alumni, parents, students, and friends. “Students have participated, but the emphasis has been on events for alumni and parents,” notes Laura Berge, director of this year’s weekend.

Building a Cal connection
To increase student interest and participation, a19-member Student Homecoming committee was formed to plan events during the week leading up to the weekend.

“The California Alumni Association believes that if we encourage current students to participate in Homecoming, they will feel even more connected with Cal and will want to return and give back to the campus after they’ve graduated,” says Jason Simon, CAA Director of Student Services.

The Student Homecoming, entitled “Something Old, Something New, Something Gold, Something Blue,” will begin on Monday, Sept. 29, and continue through Sunday, Oct. 5, with many of the events offering free giveaways and prizes. “We’ve really tried to structure our calendar to interest Cal students,” said Anastasia Stamos, Overall Special Events Coordinator and a senior in the Haas School of Business. “We’re focusing on service, academics, and athletics, because we feel like Cal really excels in all of those areas.”

The Homecoming Kick-Off and Free Ice Cream Giveaway will get the party started on Monday, with more than 4,000 scoops of ice cream donated by Fenton’s Creamery. Tuesday will see a banner competition offering prizes to the student groups that create the most original Cal-related pennant.

Wednesday features the Showcase on the Steps, highlighting the talents of various cultural student groups, including Cal Wushu, Theater Rice, and The Movement. On Thursday evening, the Battle of the Brains will pit students against faculty in a Jeopardy-like contest. Questions will range from Cal trivia to current events to academics, with members of the audience being given the opportunity to win two roundtrip tickets to anywhere in the U.S., courtesy of Southwest Airlines.

On Friday, alumni from the classes of 1941 to 2003, as well as Cal parents, will begin to arrive, further adding to the festive environment on campus. Twenty classes will hold reunions throughout the day and evening, and there will be a reception for parents and families at the Berkeley Art Museum at 5 p.m.

That evening, following the big Homecoming Rally, the students will host Cal Illuminated, a nighttime tour of the campus. Using blue-and-gold glowsticks to find their way, student tour guides will focus on some the lesser-known traditions and folklore of UC Berkeley.

On Saturday and Sunday, events for students, alumni, and parents will take place at locations all across the campus.

At the CubFest and Homecoming Carnival on Saturday morning, student groups have planned games, booths, face-painting, and prizes for children attending the weekend. At 1 p.m. all Homecoming participants — students, alumni, and parents — will march behind their colorful class banners in a traditional Homecoming Procession led by the Cal Band. The procession will go up to Memorial Stadium, where Cal fans will cheer on the Golden Bears, who will be playing Pac-10 rival Oregon State.

The parent and alumni events will continue on Sunday. Student Homecoming will wrap up then too, with the Cal vs. Stanford soccer game, featuring a pre-game tailgate party. Food for this event will be provided by Top Dog and Naked Juice.

Most Student Homecoming events are free and open to the public. A detailed schedule is online. Details about Homecoming & Parents Weekend also are online.