Madison Smith/Daily Senior Staffer
Northwestern’s annual Homecoming week has brought students and alumni together for decades. After a year of empty stadiums and virtual reunion events, Arch Society is bringing back a series of NU traditions to run from Oct. 8 to 16.
The student group, which works closely with the Alumni Association, will kick off festivities with a tailgate for the Oct. 8 women’s soccer game. Homecoming Committee Co-Chair and Weinberg senior Sheridan Bernard said the event will be catered by Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers and will involve a giveaway.
“(The game) takes place a little before Homecoming week, but we wanted to emphasize some sports other than football this year,” Bernard said.
The “Paint Norris Purple” tradition will also make a comeback. ARTica Studios in Norris University Center will provide free art supplies for student organizations to paint their own banners until Oct. 10, and students can win $75 for promoting their organizations during the event.
Arch Society will also host the annual senior brunch on Sunday, where seniors can learn about upcoming Alumni Association events, and a Tuesday food truck festival at the Arts Circle.
Members of the Royalty Court, nominated in spring, will be at these events, helping out and getting to know students. At the end of the week, the student body will vote for two to be crowned as Homecoming Wildcats at the Oct. 15 pep rally at Deering Meadow.
The week will conclude with the Oct. 16 football game against Rutgers, where Royalty Court members will make a halftime appearance on Ryan Field. Homecoming Committee Co-Chair and McCormick senior Angel Hernandez said he’s most looking forward to this event.
“I love to see the sea of purple that is our student section,” Hernandez said. “It’s such a unifying experience that I’m sure we’ve all missed.”
When last year’s Homecoming was postponed due to COVID-19, Hernandez said the committee scraped together a few virtual events like a trivia night, but canceled all on-campus programming to promote the safety of the community.
While the committee is trying to host events in outdoor spaces this year to stay on the safe side, Bernard said Arch Society has been able to bring back many of the traditions students know and love.
Arch Society member and Weinberg junior Chalinee Charoenwong said she looks back on Homecoming memories from her freshman year fondly and is excited to participate in person again.
“I think the energy will be a lot higher than last year,” Charoenwong said. “Just hearing about the schedule for next week is getting me excited.”
In addition to running Homecoming events, Arch Society also hosts mentorship and career advancement programs to strengthen relationships between students and alumni.
Hernandez, an avid NU football fan, said the organization gives him an outlet to showcase his school pride and support throughout the year.
“I’m not necessarily the loudest person, so I figured that if I can’t scream with my voice, I can help out on the sidelines,” Hernandez said. “I’m excited to help other people get excited for Homecoming.”
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