Homecoming unites students, alumni at Utah universities

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Homecoming season is in full swing as universities across the state host events to celebrate their schools, students and alumni.

Members of the BYU community are preparing to celebrate the “spirit of the Y.” This year’s Homecoming week spans from Oct. 11-15 and will include the lighting of the Y, BYU Spectacular!, the parade, True Blue Foam and the football game against Mississippi State University on Friday.

Aaron Cornia/BYU
BYU students hike the Y Mountain trail on their way to light the Y as part of a Homecoming tradition. (Aaron Cornia)

Michael Johanson, BYU alumni outreach and communications director, said the homecoming events have a broad appeal to audiences of all ages and interests.

“The committee has done a great job in putting together activities that practically anyone can enjoy,” Johanson said. “The common thread with them all is that they connect people with BYU and its inspired mission.”

Johanson said BYU is looking forward to a Homecoming centered on the university’s student-focused mission. Events are designed to connect those who are here or will be coming with those who have already gone “forth to serve” around the world.

Aaron Cornia/BYU
BYU Alumni and their families hike the Y as part of a BYU homecoming tradition. (Aaron Cornia)

“There are the traditional Homecoming events like the football game and parade that happen locally, and they are augmented by an engaged widespread alumni base that spans the globe,” Johanson said.

BYU’s neighboring schools are also celebrating Homecoming throughout the state. Many have events similar to BYU’s, but some universities have unique traditions, like decorating Greek Row or encouraging students to pucker up.

The University of Utah recently hosted its Homecoming week with various activities and a football game against the University of Arizona.

Mary Thiriot, associate director of events and administrative services for the U of U Alumni Association, spoke of the university’s traditions for students and alumni.
“Each year the sororities and fraternities use the Homecoming theme to create costumes, songs, dances, and compete for prizes. It’s always a fun, hilarious competition that has gone on for many decades,” Thiriot said in an email. “We also have reunions, a scholarship 5K race, etc., to ensure we have something for everyone.”

The U of U also includes a community service component in its celebrations. This year the event is a golf scramble tournament for current students and alumni to raise funds for the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

USU Facebook page
Couples at Utah State University participate in the century-old tradition of becoming “True Aggies” by kissing each other while standing on top of Block A. (Scott Olson)

In Logan, Utah State University concluded its homecoming celebrations last month.

Scott Olson, USU’s director of business development, said Homecoming brings students and alumni together.

“Utah State is still very much a residential campus and so it brings a great sense of community,” Olson said. “Homecoming is a wonderful time for all alumni to come back to school, relive what it was like to go to school and connect with their alma mater.”

The oldest Homecoming tradition at Utah State University is True Aggie Night. This 100-year-old event invites couples to stand on top of Block A and kiss one another to become “True Aggies.” Other USU traditions include a parade, alumni breakfast, street painting and a Mr. USU pageant competition.

While each university across the state has unique traditions, they all share the goal of uniting a student body and welcoming alumni home.

Visit online to get more information on BYU’s Homecoming week.

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