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Homecoming through the ages

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Photo by Photo courtesy of Arielle Smith
Cheerleaders and other members of the Marquette community listen to a speaker during homecoming festivities, 1985.

Homecoming is a tradition on university campuses across the country. Each year, students come together to show school pride and celebrate with events typically leading up to a football game against a major rival. Without a football team, Marquette’s Homecoming planners have had their work cut out for them. 

Marquette disbanded its football program in 1960 due to debt and poor performance on the field, has continued to keep the tradition alive over the years. The last official Homecoming was in 1993. Although the university hasn’t seen the annual tradition in its original form in decades, Homecoming is making a return to campus this fall.

The event, which extends from Sunday, October 2, through Sunday, October 9, is still a celebration of football, just not the American kind. The men’s and women’s soccer teams will be hosting games at Valley Fields throughout the week. In addition to soccer, students, staff and alumni are encouraged to attend a volleyball match, there are a few throughout the week, and Marquette Madness, the kickoff celebration of the 2016-17 Marquette Basketball season.

Homecoming 2016 is reminiscent of its 1993 counterpart in that it is centered around athletics and the events leading up to the main celebration encourage a sense of school pride and dedication to service, faith, leadership and excellence.

From lectures with guest speakers in Varsity Theater, to a celebrity comic performance and a pep rally, the events of homecoming in the past were not all that different from the events lined up for this year.

The main difference between the two seems to be the length of the celebration. In 1986, homecoming lasted three days, from Friday October 3 to Sunday October 5. This year it is a full week packed with guest speakers, athletic events, service opportunities like Hunger Task Force’s “Stuff the Truck” food drive and, most notably, Marquette Madness.

Although homecoming is an official Marquette sponsored celebration this year, the tradition has not been on a complete hiatus for the last three decades.

In recent years, students have found ways to bring a similar spirit to campus. In 2012, the student organization Marquette Nation, hosted “Beat Bucky Week” which included a food drive similar to the “Stuff the Truck” campaign happening this week.

Megan Maki, a Marquette alumna, remembered the spirit on campus for all of the events leading up to the Marquette basketball game against UW-Madison.

“It brought everyone together and united Marquette for a straight week. The energy on campus was incredible,” Maki said. “I remember there being a t-shirt swap, so you could bring in an old Wisconsin shirt and trade it in for a new Marquette shirt. I did that and I remember the pile of old Wisconsin shirts just sitting there. It was fun to see everyone with such school spirit and supporting Marquette.”

While some students are excited for the return of homecoming, others are confused.

Kara McCauley, a junior in the College of Education, said she feels that the advertising hasn’t been very clear.

“Every weekend, I see different advertisements on campus and I’m not sure if it is the start of homecoming or not,” McCauley said. “It hasn’t been clearly advertised. There has been a giant banner hanging outside of the AMU for weeks but I haven’t seen any other information.” 

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