Homecoming is a Not What it Used to Be

WHITNEY STRAMER | THE SPECTRUM Students at last year’s homecoming game hoisted a student into the air after a touchdown.
Students at last year’s homecoming game hoisted a student into the air after a touchdown.

Homecoming: a time for celebration and school spirit to fill the autumn air on campus. Pride and excitement for the upcoming football game build up more and more until the game on Saturday. Alumni come back and celebrate alongside the current students, cheering toward a common goal of victory. Seems like a beautiful picture and it was, twenty or so years ago.

From its origins in 1911, Homecoming was intended to bring back the alumni and celebrate the upcoming game. Often there were parades and events to commemorate the celebration. Today, it has become an excuse to party and get belligerently drunk.

Drinking on campus, regardless if the campus is a “wet” or “dry” campus, is a fact of college. Students have freedom away from home and many seek out the party life. I have attended North Dakota State for years now. In my time here, I have seen three types of people. There are those who do not drink or party, those who will go out and party occasionally and lastly, those who party hard every weekend.

Over the years, I have seen people from each of those groups throw down drinks in the name of Homecoming. What makes Homecoming cover all excuse to go out and get drunk? The celebration designed to create good clean fun for the students and the alumni, now it is a week to party excessively.

To clarify, I am aware there are people who have fun and participate in the events without the use of alcohol to make “everything more enjoyable.” On the grand scope, though, Homecoming creates an environment that encourages reckless behavior, especially at a school as large as ours.

I feel the essence of Homecoming’s origins have been lost. With football games sold out nearly every week, it would be interesting to see how many alumni actually are able to get tickets and attend the game. At a smaller school, I am sure Homecoming is a much more accessible event, but on our sizable campus I figure it has be difficult.

I don’t know if anything can be done about the issue of so many students getting drunk in the name of school pride and Homecoming. The partiers will always party, and that is a given. But I am curious to find out why Homecoming week instills a mentality in so many students to go out, party and get drunk. Taking part in the events of Homecoming is a great way to enjoy the week and celebrate school spirit without getting wasted.

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