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It is the iconic week that drives the fall semester. Leading up to the Saturday football game, organizations across campus come together to host events and bring the campus community together. The week ends with the crowning of two homecoming royalty members as students and alumni part ways that evening.

Homecoming week is the embodiment of the classic college experience, even during a pandemic.

And while we may not have that Saturday football game or many in-person events this year, we cannot forget the importance of this Rock Pride-driven week.

Seeing all the people who are proud to be a SRU student, a former alum, a parent of a current or former student, drives The Rock, and that is usually highlighted at the events such as the parade, football game and multiple other events that take place on and around campus during homecoming week. Several organizations on campus tailored this huge week of events to a mostly virtual format (and marketing it as such), but it is up to students and alumni to get involved in any possible part of homecoming this year.

This week is especially important to the students new to SRU, whether they are first-time students or transfer students learning what exactly Rock Pride is.

While it might feel awkward to now start getting involved with school events, especially one like homecoming that is primarily focused on school pride, it is important to do so not to just build a connection now, but for future semesters. We have been in this pandemic for seven months, and right now, the spring semester will probably look very similar to this fall.

Yes, these are unprecedented and historical times but we have known this type of “new normal” for the majority of 2020. If we want any more normalcy, we need to create it by putting ourselves out there and virtually meeting people whose only relation to us is that they chose the same college as us.

Although homecoming is not exactly what people would have hoped for it to be, attending the virtual events and showing Rock Pride through Zoom and social media platforms is going to be an important aspect for students to still feel connected to campus and hopefully have a sense of normalcy.

Let’s be real: we all need a way to take time to relax and not worry about classes, especially after this round of midterms. Even if it is just for an hour, you are making connections and memories about your SRU experience that detract from any of the negativity that comes from a mostly-virtual environment.

Beyond homecoming, if you are living in the Slippery Rock or the surrounding area, make sure to support the community and its small businesses. With many small businesses in the area closing in recent months (including Red Rock Falls, Weiners Gone Wild and Big Shot Bob’s), take advantage of the opportunity to support the community while enjoying SRU’s food and small businesses.

However, if you are attending SRU at a distance this semester, we hope this week and weekend serve as a reminder for what Rock Pride stands for: a persistent resiliency and dedication that Slippery Rock students know best.

We will get back to that idyllic homecoming week one day, but during these far-from-ideal times, remember that one thing is never changing: we are Rock Pride.


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