Homecoming organizers aim to connect students, alumni

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Homecoming organizers aim to connect students, alumni

A Homecoming banner hangs on the side of Speare Hall.

A Homecoming banner hangs on the side of Speare Hall.

Deanna Schwartz

A Homecoming banner hangs on the side of Speare Hall.

Deanna Schwartz

Deanna Schwartz

A Homecoming banner hangs on the side of Speare Hall.

Taylor Driscoll, news staff

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What event can bring together generations of Huskies? The answer is Homecoming. 

Homecoming 2019 kicked off Wednesday and aims to unite students and alumni for a five-day-long celebration. 

Husky Spirit Day, the Homecoming Headliner, which features comedians Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, and a tailgate in front of Matthews Arena for the men’s hockey game are examples of some Homecoming events.

Adrianne Denenberg, senior director of engagement initiatives for Northeastern’s Office of Alumni Relations, said she believes this event is a great way of bringing together current students and alumni. 

“There isn’t really a strong class culture at Northeastern because of the phenomenal co-op program, which means you [would] know who is in your class. Obviously you have friends in the same class, but you have friends who are a couple years younger or a couple years older,” Denenberg said. “You may know more people through a club you were a part of or a sports team. When we talk about affinities, we are talking about the things you were connected to as a student.” 

Rick Davis, vice president for alumni relations, said Homecoming’s biggest impact is how it brings together the different communities within Northeastern. 

“We have had folks that have worked with Social Impact or Model UN … They’re going to have the most anticipation for that,” Davis said. “It’s Homecoming. You’re not coming back to a strange situation; you’re coming back home, and home recognizes that you’re familiar with it.”

Davis also said Northeastern has spread Homecoming farther than just main campus. They are hosting programs at the satellite campuses to reach alumni that might not have the opportunity to travel all the way to Boston.

“We have alumni who, for a lot of different reasons, can’t get to Boston … That’s kind of a dealbreaker. Having these [regional] Homecoming events can be economical for alumni in those areas,” Davis said. “It’s not the home that they knew, but they’re getting used to a new home. There are some commonalities because they are getting this learning experience at Northeastern.”

Adam Stocker, a fourth-year criminal justice and political science combined major, said he only knew Homecoming was happening because of flyers. He said he thinks many students are only excited about the Mulaney-Kroll event, but not the other events. 

“I didn’t get tickets because the ticketing process is really crappy,” Stocker said. “People are trying to gouge anyone selling tickets, but that’s a cool event. I actually would have gone to it if they had more tickets.”

He also said he thinks the idea of Northeastern’s Homecoming can be a bit confusing for current students to understand.

“I don’t even know what Homecoming is for a college. There is no dance. Like when people ask, ‘Are you going to Homecoming?’ — is this high school?” Stocker said. “There is no football team or dance, so what actually is Homecoming?”

As Homecoming events start to take place, Denenberg, Davis and the rest of the staff at the Alumni Relations office want students and alumni to know that Northeastern wants them to stay connected.

“We truly want to make sure they understand that Northeastern is here for them wherever they go after they graduate and that it is not just about, ‘Okay, you got a degree from us, God bless, Godspeed, and you’re off.’” Denenberg said. “We really want to make sure that they know they’re a part of a family here and we want to stay connected.”