We are all familiar with Homecoming traditions – class reunions, celebratory dinners, tailgating, football, and touring the campus after years away.
With Loras College’s Homecoming 2020 taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic, those traditions will continue it a different format.
“We are finding ways to connect even when we are celebrating at home,” Brie Burnett (’15), assistant director of alumni relations, said.
Instead of a three-day celebration on campus, this year’s Homecoming From Home will feature more than 45 virtual events spanning seven days beginning Monday, October 5, with a live look-in at the Alumni Campus Center at 11 a.m., one of several “Duhawk Destinations.”
“We tried to think of the places where, when alumni come back, they tend to congregate, or they love to visit again because they bring back special memories,” Bobbi Earles (’88), director of alumni communications, explained. “With Duhawk Destinations, we will be making our way around campus so they can have those experiences virtually.”
Each day, several virtual events will be hosted online, including reunions, alumni panels, and Homecoming liturgy.
One of the most popular events in recent years is DuBrew. Continuing that tradition, the event will happen virtually through a live online gathering, including a broadcast from the Fieldhouse.
“DuBrew is one of our staple events, so we wanted to highlight it,” Burnett said. “This is the tenth anniversary, so it is important to celebrate that and to provide an in-depth look at the history of the event.”
As always, milestone class reunions will have a chance to convene – this time through Zoom. According to Earles, each class going back every five years through 1970 will be able to get together online and catch up in forums set up expressly for them.
“Each reunion class will have a private Zoom meeting to connect with each other. There will be some trivia and surprise guests, but, ultimately, we want the call to be all about them,” she said.
Also slated for the week are reunion events for Black/African American, Latinx, LGBTQ+ alumni.
Two new components for 2020 are the Homecoming in a Box, a collection of Loras merchandise to help you celebrate from home, and a digital yearbook, where Duhawks can share their photos and check in with other alumni to celebrate together.
“This year, we wanted to include, not just our reunion years, but everyone, so we are creating a digital yearbook. We are asking all Duhawks to submit a photo, whether from when they were here as a student or a recent image with your family in Duhawk gear so we can include them. This is something that we will compile and share out after Homecoming.”
“We have always considered our alumni our family, so we want to get everyone together as many ways as we can. We know they are out there celebrating, and now we can all gather for Homecoming at Home in the same way,” Earles said.