Homecoming Weekend 2017: Bison return to their herd


Natalie Spears, Special Features Co-Editor

More than 800 alumni, friends, and family returned to the University for the 2017 Homecoming Weekend. Visitors attended various events hosted throughout the weekend and reunited with old friends. However, the weekend encouraged more than just reunions; Homecoming promotes alumni engagement through networking, volunteering, and learning more about the school’s future. Alumni relations are a key component of the University’s success and legacy, and, as a result, Homecoming Weekend is a significant event for both students and faculty.

Homecoming Events

Numerous events were held this past weekend. Center Stage featured comedian Adam DeVine as its headliner, the Bucknell Student Union premiered its Student Showcase, the Gender and Sexuality Alliance hosted a Rainbow Rave Register, the LGBTQA community arranged a reception, and many more events were orchestrated that enabled the alumni to easily re-immerse into University life. Additionally, the University hosted a Welcome Reception on the night of Friday, Nov. 3, as well as a Tailgate Brunch on the following morning that preceded both the football game and a 5th Quarter Reception and WE DO Campaign Celebration Finale. The Department of Athletics and Recreation also presented their 2017 Hall of Fame inductees, and the Alumni Association Board and the Bucknell Engineering Alumni Association Board congregated for their annual fall meetings.

“Homecoming Weekend is a time to bring alumni, students, faculty, and staff together to celebrate being Bucknellian,” senior associate director for on-campus engagement Chris Watters said.

Volunteer Leadership Summit

One of the more prominent alumni events held this past Homecoming Weekend was the fourth annual Volunteer Leadership Summit, hosted by the Bucknell Alumni Association and the Office of Alumni Relations. Over 100 alumni and student volunteers attended the Summit events, which included a Welcome Reception, a University Update with University President John Bravman, and multiple educational sessions that covered topics like social media use, the University’s new branding strategy, recruiting volunteers, and planning events. According to Watters, attendees of the Summit represented over 16 affinity groups, including the Alumni Association Board of Directors, the Black Alumni Association, the Class Reunion Program, the Bucknell Professional Network, the Bucknell Student Government, and the International Orientation program.

“We value our volunteers and we want them to enjoy coming back to campus, networking with students and alumni, and building their skill sets. It’s a celebration of how much they have done for Bucknell, and a way to inspire them to continue giving their time, talent and treasure,” Kristin Stetler, Senior Associate Director of Alumni Relations and coordinator of the Summit, said.

Alumni Engagement

Homecoming Weekend is an exciting time for alumni to return and reengage with the University. As Alumni contribute to both the University’s reputation and its legacy, it makes perfect sense that the University exerts a tremendous amount of time and effort into making this weekend as ideal as possible for returning Bucknellians.

“Alumni enjoy the camaraderie of the Bucknell community. Alumni also play a key role in keeping the University strong — by sharing knowledge and experiences with students, by volunteering their time and talents to University programs, and by providing financial contributions for student financial aid, academic programs, buildings, and more. Returning to campus to see, learn about and experience Bucknell today ignites pride in the University, builds further excitement about the Bucknell education, and encourages involvement for years to come,” Watters said.

“I decided to come back because I missed the campus, culture, and friends that go here. I’ve missed Bucknell since the day I graduated. My favorite part was coming back to see all of my friends that now hold jobs all over the country. It was the only opportunity we had to come together at the place where our friendships began,” Adam Drake ’17 said.

“It took about 15 minutes for me to feel like I never left. I went for a jog Saturday morning up to the quad and down to the docks, and at times I would just feel myself come to an involuntary stop as memories flooded back to me with every change in scenery,” Ellen Higbee ’17 said.

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