Homecoming activities for all ages


Madeline Pierce

Crowds gather on the Main Quad to enjoy the weather. This took place during Mom’s Weekend, on April 6.

By Clare Budin, Assistant Special Sections Editor

If you’re like me and are a legacy student with deeply nostalgic parents, you’ll know the trials and tribulations of Homecoming Week. During this week, alumni can walk the paths of their alma mater and reminisce about old friends, professors and weekend hangouts.

Being with my parents during Homecoming means several torturous hours of hearing about where my dad first saw REM in 1983 and how different Green Street looks with all these swanky new apartments.

On the other hand, taking a 180-degree turn and bringing my dear parents to Joe’s Brewery with some tipsy companions probably was not the most enjoyable experience for them, either. At a time that is meant to bring people together and celebrate the achievements of students and alumni alike, I want to give students dealing with sentimental graduates a few tips on what events and activities that can encourage Illini pride in any age group.

Homecoming football game

My first piece of advice is probably the most obvious. After all, regardless of age or life experience, who doesn’t enjoy the roar and excitement of a homecoming football game? This year’s game on Saturday pits the Illini against the Badgers. Nearly-inevitable painful loss notwithstanding, there’s a reason why so many fans still come out to support the Illini football team year after school year: At Memorial Stadium, the Illini spirit can be felt radiating through the stands, regardless of if you follow every game and play or if you are like me and could not explain what a linebacker does if my life depended on it. Bring your relatives out to the game and chant like no one’s watching!

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Picnic on the Main Quad

From college brochure covers to perfectly-shot Instagram pics, it’s clear the University’s Main Quad has developed a well-earned reputation as one of the most picturesque and easily recognized locations on campus. Because of the Main Quad’s iconic status, many alumni will attach deeply sentimental memories of their time at the University to walking, relaxing or partying on the Main Quad, with both Foellinger Auditorium and the Illini Union standing watch. To enjoy the view and soak up the nostalgia during a crisp fall day, suggest a picnic on the Quad with some warm blankets and a spread of whatever food, homemade or ordered, you might be craving. Providing a relaxing break from a raucous football game or extensive campus walks will provide relief and unify parents and children with something truly wonderful: great food.

More food

Did I mention yet food is the most effective unifier across all age groups? At Homecoming events and secret gems around campus, there are countless opportunities to dine or gorge on any cuisine your family’s hearts desire.

Sunday, the Alice Campbell Alumni Center hosts a Homecoming opening celebration and pancake breakfast, and scheduled parties, barbecues and tailgates give the brats-and-burgers crowd everything they need for a perfect, greasy celebration. If hotdogs aren’t your thing, there are plenty of restaurants in the campus area offering special Homecoming deals and diverse choices to explore unique options or find hometown comfort with your family. Whatever suits your heart or your stomach, campus will have something to rise to the occasion.

Clare is a sophomore in LAS. 

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