Tradition pushes Homecoming into motion

By Frankie Blanco, Staff Writer

When someone thinks about Homecoming and what it means at the University, thoughts of cherished traditions and school spirit run rampant in their mind. This is arguably the best time of the year as summer comes to a close and the seasons begin to change. Leaves shift colors and fall as the air transitions from heat that felt like it would never cease to a brisk autumn breeze. 

With Homecoming just around the corner, it’s inevitable students notice this change, too. The University takes pride in its traditions, Homecoming Week being one of the biggest. Apparently the University was the first to have a weeklong celebration, paving the way for what a lively and festive homecoming should look like.

That being said, no other school does homecoming week like this one. The week is full of different ways for students to take part in all the fun that the school has to offer. This includes events such as the 5k, Party on the Quad, Global Talent Show, Homecoming Parade and the football game to name a few.

The week starts with the 5k run on Sunday. This is a great way for the University to get students excited about what’s yet to come over the week. From then on, there is an event almost every day of the week, allowing students, staff, alumni and community members to participate in the celebrations.

The Party on the Quad, which takes place on the Main Quad on Monday, demonstrates while it is a school day, Illini spirit reigns. According to the University calendar, there will be “a dinner with inflatable games, live music and presentations from Illini Athletics.” Certainly, the efforts made by the University to host a peppy environment do not go unnoticed as the turnout for this tradition reflects the interest the community has in celebrating Homecoming. 

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As the week continues, so does the fun. On Wednesday, there is the Global Talent Show, in which international students get to participate and display their talents. This is a great way to welcome students who come from different cultures and showcase different interests. Located at the Spurlock Museum, all are welcome to join as this event exemplifies the prominent diversification that occurs at the University.

Amid the celebration, two highly anticipated events every year are the Homecoming Parade and the football game. These events are two of the oldest Homecoming traditions and truly encompass what it means to be an Illini. Held on Friday, the parade truly is a spectacle with “the Marching Illini, Illinois Alumni Band, Grand Marshal, special guests, University student organizations and community participants,” according to the University calendar.

With regard to the football game, this event  mot only reveals the positive impact University traditions have on the students who attend the University but also for alumni, community members and prospective students. The game is on Saturday, bringing Homecoming week to a thrilling end. Onlookers get to experience an intense game against the University of Wisconsin-Madison as they watch from the stands. The dazzling lights will shine on Memorial Stadium, conveying an illusory feeling among the vast crowd. 

Evidently, one can see traditions hold a great purpose at the University. They unify people of different identities and mirror the inclusive ideals the University upholds. Ultimately, there is no better time than Homecoming Week to feel Illini spirit in the air on campus. 

Frankie is a sophomore in LAS. 

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