Homecoming unites community, restarts tradition

Sigma Phi Epsilon alumni (clockwise from top left) Wright Seneres, Joe Pecora, Vince Fucci, Levi Wilson, Atul Sharma and Tony Whalen reunite at Homecoming on Oct. 28.

By Danielle Marcus and Demara Barnes

Although the windy weather prevented the highly anticipated hot air balloon from rising, the multiple food trucks and other Homecoming festivities on Oct. 28 made up for it.

According to senior English major and Student Government Association (SGA) President John Modica, the Office of Alumni Affairs began planning the festivities for Homecoming over the summer.

“We actually talked about planning a new Homecoming for a while in SGA, so our conversations at the end of last year sparked a movement toward a Homecoming this year,” he said.

Students, faculty and alumni sat around at tables in the parking lot between Ben Cohen Field and the tennis courts and listened to live music play while having the option of eating from Mama Dude’s food truck, On Point Grub or Tower Dogs hot dog stand. Desserts and chips lined the tables open for anyone to eat.

The Rider Dance Ensemble entertained everyone with their routine, bringing people to their feet. A.J. The Bronc mascot cheered the performers on and brought spirit to Rider.

107.7 The Bronc set up a plinko game so those in attendance could win free coupons for ice cream and other foods.

Laughter and chatter filled the air as Rider students had the chance to meet and work with alumni.

“It was nice to see the improvements on campus, and be able to support the undergraduate class,” said Shaila Cuevas, ’05. Modica said that the biggest challenge of planning the event was creating a new tradition that is already a staple at many colleges and universities around the country.

“We were really trying to understand how a program like that could fit into Rider and engage students, faculty and, of course, our alumni,” he said.

Although the hot air balloon arrived late, it was confirmed that it would not be going in the air due to windy weather. As a result, the long line of students waiting dispersed and took part in other activities, such as the bounce house, flag football and the Beer Garden of Eatin’.

Family and friends played volleyball and took silly pictures in the photo booth.

“It was nice seeing the alumni and participating in some of the events and activities to get the full experience,” said senior entrepreneur studies major Damali Smith.

The Office of Service Learning set up various stands.

Everyone had the opportunity to make toys for sheltered cats, cards for veterans, decorations to cover IV bags, and blankets for babies in incubators.

Some of the most popular events at Homecoming, according to Modica, were sports teams and fraternity reunions that took place at the men’s soccer game.

“I think, for a first year, we were pretty successful with the turnout, and I’m confident that’s only going to improve over the coming years,” he said.

By nightfall, “Young Frankenstein” was shown on a screen on the grass in front of Cranberry’s. Students brought blankets and towels to sit on and sat by the fire pit to watch the movie on a small inflatable screen.

For Modica, Homecoming is an event that can only improve in the future.

“In order to celebrate your community, it takes a community to create an event like that,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing this expand in the coming years.”

 

Published in the 11/01/17 edition.

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