What’s in a name? There are many words in the English language that appear to mean one thing, but operate under an entirely different definition. There are many others whose purpose rings loud and clear, too.
Such is the case with the word “homecoming.” Every year, schools all around the nation open their doors to former students, in the hope that they will rejoice in visiting one small, yet monumental place of their past – their former home.
One would be hard pressed to find an institution that honors this definition more than Olivet.
Homecomings are generally classified as alumni events.
The events that occur during homecoming usually reflect the culture that young people would most enjoy – parties, dances, and other student-oriented functions. At these functions, visiting alumni play a role spectators more than participants.
In essence, this says to the schools former students and residents “look at your old home and see how it has changed; see how it is no longer yours.”
Homecoming at Olivet is a sense of community that is all inclusive. It says to it’s former students and residents: “Look at your home and see that although it has changed, it is still yours.”
Olivet is not only a home to the late teens and 20-somethings that inhabit it. It is a home to all those who teach, visit, donate, and contribute to all the aspects of campus and academic life those students are able to benefit from every day.
A look around the campus of what would be considered a “big name” school would look a lot different than a glance around our campus at the same time.
Because Homecoming there is an event that largely centers on the students rather than both students and visitors, it is not uncommon to see that most alumni are grouped off, usually visiting a current relative that attends the school. They are not as warmly received by the general student body, and perhaps may even be avoided or ignored by them.
Kayla Smith, a senior at the University of Urbana-Champaign, had the pleasure of her family coming down to visit. “It was great to see everyone and have them all come down to visit. We mostly hung together. You don’t see too many of the alumni mixing with each other or the students. If someone recognizes someone else, it’s an all out mini-family reunion. But other than that everyone pretty much cliques off with [whomever] they came to see.”
No matter how stressed out a student may be with classes, athletics, work, or other matters, it is important to remember that you are surrounded by family, a family that you inherited when you first stepped foot on the campus walkways.
You share a story with your fellow classmates, faculty, and staff that no one else can fully understand, no matter how you try to describe it over a meal or joke about it on the phone.
In a few years, all the stresses and all the drama will be forgotten and you’ll be left with memories of the times you spent in community with your peers.
Don’t forget to take the time to celebrate with your friends – attend the athletic games, go to the class events, mix with those who came before you and watch one of your very own be crowned.
Rejoice in this time that you have with your special family and take joy if the fact that you will always have a home to come back to.