BYU kicks off unusual Homecoming week

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BYU Alumni unveiled a week filled with pandemic-friendly events and activities for Homecoming this year with a focus on service and connectedness.

From Oct. 5 to Oct. 10, there will be service challenges each day hosted by BYU Student Alumni, app led scavenger hunts known as “Cosmo Quest,” a whole lot of social media interaction and of course – prizes. The week caps off with a football game against the UTSA Roadrunners.

“This year’s daily Homecoming activities center on serving those around you, which is what being a BYU student or alumnus is all about. Even though we can’t hold our typical celebrations, the ability to light our community through service and giving is something that will always be possible,” BYU spokeswoman Natalie Ipson said.

Students on top of Y Mountain participate in “Hike & Light the Y” during last year’s Homecoming week. During the pandemic, BYU Student Alumni found another way to “Light the Y” through service. (Nate Edwards / BYU Photo)

BYU students and alumni normally “Hike & Light the Y” during Homecoming week. This year, BYU Student Alumni found another way to “Light the Y” through daily service challenges.

BYU Student Alumni will make an Instagram post for each day’s challenge. Students and alumni can complete a service act and then comment what they did under the post for that challenge. Anyone who comments and tags three friends will be entered into a giveaway for that day, the office’s Instagram explains.

The office tried to do a lot of things related to BYU, service and connecting people, VP of Publicity Alyssa Thomason said. She added that she thinks the challenges help students and alumni connect to each other and the BYU community. “We really want to create a strong BYU community that will last their whole life.”

For example, the service challenge for Oct. 6 was “Make Someone Smile.” One of the suggestions is to send or order food for someone in quarantine. Some of the challenges are more humorous, like “post a video of you singing (at least) the chorus of the BYU fight song,” on Game Day, the group’s website reads.

Another way for students to get involved in the festivities is through Cosmo Quest: Homecoming Edition. Cosmo Quest is a series of app led scavenger hunts hosted by the Student Connection and Leadership Center.

There are two ways students can play: by completing challenge missions hosted by different offices on campus (Oct. 5 to Oct. 10) or by joining the 48 Hour Hunt (Oct. 8 to Oct. 10). The 48 Hour Hunt has over 250 missions around campus and a grand prize, according to the Student Connection and Leadership Center’s website. More details and sign up instructions are found there as well.

Brie Richardson, student lead over Cosmo Quest, said the office wanted the event to allow students to go around campus and find new resources. COVID-19 restrictions make this difficult. 

“We just really, really want this to be an event that we can keep doing regardless of the circumstances with COVID-19,” Richardson said, adding that participants must work with the event organizers and follow COVID-19 rules for that to happen. The website lists COVID-19 safety guidelines for participants to follow.

Although restrictive, the pandemic has given BYU Alumni a new perspective. Shane Westwood, senior manager of alumni marketing and communications, said COVID-19 helped the organization celebrate the spirit of the Y while having everyone participate. 

“We have the time and the technology to come together and celebrate,” Westwood said.

BYU Alumni is helping students and alumni from all over feel involved in Homecoming by having them submit photos and short videos of the last time they Hiked the Y. They can post a photo or video with the tag @BYUalumni or email it to BYU Alumni to be entered to win a collection of BYU gear and treats. There will be additional drawings for up to 25 block Y marquee letter lights, according to an Instagram post.

BYU is also hosting a virtual Cougar Run, where kids and adults can choose from different races to complete and track them on on app. Finishers will be placed in a drawing for BYU gear. More information is found here.

There will also be a BYU day at the Orem Costco on Oct. 10 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Cosmo will be there, along with BYU inflatables, games and snacks. Alumni can shop without a Costco membership if they show the email they received about the event.

The Homecoming game will be on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 1:30 p.m. on ESPN2.

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