Augie hosts homecoming week post pandemic


Jason Smith

Two members of Phi Rho take a commanding lead, smiling as their teamwork is paying off.

Feven Zewdu

Week 6 of the fall semester was eventful while homecoming celebrations took place. Events were planned by the Office of Student Life (OSL), such as the kick off and bonfire, the Regatta Race, Talent Show, Yell and Rope Pull, Sing and Coronation and the Homecoming Game. This was a unique year, as many alumni flooded back to Augustana after a year apart.

COVID-19 guidelines were followed as usual, such as masking and holding the majority of events outdoors. 

Zoe Arvanitis, a senior who works in the OSL as a student engagement coordinator said that the events being held outside helped them stay within the school COVID guidelines.

“Being outside helps us spread out and have ventilation, and I think a lot of people are more inclined to go to the events that are outdoors,” Arvanitis said. 

Senior Jazyln Arce, the president of Sigma Pi Delta, said that homecoming is important to continue traditions that alumni began. Even though homecoming week was held in the spring last year, the fall events are anticipated by students as well. They give students something to look forward to during the intense weeks of the semester.

“For upperclassmen, It’s something that is much more meaningful since we got to experience homecoming week prior to COVID,” Arce said.“I think homecoming is something that is always fun and brings the Greek community together, so having it again in the fall carries old traditions and allows everyone to get to know one another more.”  

Students received information about the events through social media and emails from the OSL. In addition, Greek groups attempted to reach students to create an engaging environment.

 “When talking about our own experiences and memories associated with homecoming week, sophomores and freshmen are very excited for these events,” Arce said.

Planning these events is stressful, but senior Alondra Ochoa, the marketing director for the OSL, emphasized the importance of homecoming as it has a key place in the history of the Augustana community.  

“Everyone is having fun. That’s what matters,” Ochoa said. 

  Former Augie student Haimanot Dagnew, who graduated in 2018 with a degree in environmental studies, was the first Ethiopian student to graduate from here. She said that coming back to Augustana was an interesting and thrilling experience. 

“Coming back here is very emotional. It’s like taking a trip down memory lane,” Dagnew said. “There weren’t that many international students when I was here, so watching the campus filled with diversity makes me so happy.”  

Homecoming week is beloved by the Augustana community as it brings students together with events every day of the week. It gives students a chance to unwind before dealing with the stress of the upcoming weeks, Arvanitis said.

“It’s fun, and everyone is always focused on their schoolwork which is mandatory since we’re here to get our degree, but we need to have fun, or else we will be too stressed and too overworked,” Arvanitis said. 

This year’s homecoming was filled with events that brought the Augustana community together. Alumni came and saw their former home while first-year students and sophomores became acquainted with new traditions at a place they too call home.