In last week’s issue of The Rocket, my good friend Danielle Sweezy wrote an article about the importance of Homecoming and how it is all about Rock Pride for current students and alumni. In it, she made several good points – though I beg to differ on the whole gist of what Homecoming means.
Instead, I would argue, that homecoming is about two things and two things alone – alcohol and money. Neither of those are bad things. I want to reinforce that point so no one can accuse me of being hypocritical or a “debby downer” – alcohol and money are not bad raisons d’être for Homecoming.
I ask, perhaps flippantly, that we don’t blow smoke up our own behinds, and call Homecoming what it is: a chance for the university to host relatively low-budget events in order to rekindle alumni (especially well-off alumni) interest in helping out the old Alma Mater, and a chance for college kids to get drunk as skunks. As can be read in The Rocket’s staff editorial this week, the ability of students to blow off some steam by partying was severely curtailed by the overwhelming amount of police and security.
Many of my friends described it as a terrible Homecoming, and a much more boring weekend than the average weekend around Slippery Rock. The word “ghost town” was used many times.
We are a mid-sized, division II state school in central western Pennsylvania. Let’s not kid ourselves further by thinking that our “Rock Pride” is expressed through formal Homecoming activities. It is often expressed through partying and going out, and generally trying to spend time with people you like. I’m not even terribly fond of going out myself and I know this to be true! In fact, when I think of Slippery Rock, and I know I am not alone in this, I will quickly recall the wonderful people I’ve met here, the professors I enjoyed taking, and the often hilarious stories that derive from Friday and Saturday nights – not football, not parades; not any fluff that Homecoming entails. So, since the use of large numbers of police have basically eradicated (for now, maybe) much of the value of Homecoming from the students’ perspective, let us be bolder next year! I’ll be graduated (if this article does not incur the wrath of the wrong people…) and probably somewhere else, but perhaps my soon-to-be Alma Mater can put up a banner across Main Street that reads, “Alumni – give us money! Students – show us your ID!” And thus, no more smoke will be blown where it doesn’t belong.