This year’s Alumni Weekend proved largely successful in bringing former Colonials back to campus as attendees enjoyed catered dinners, cocktail receptions and a Barenaked Ladies concert. While it is understandable that these events were primarily directed toward alumni, future Alumni Weekends at GW could be even more successful if the University adopted a campus-wide “homecoming” model for this weekend. It could include the traditional dinners, receptions and concert, but could center on a large sporting event such as a GW men’s basketball game. This model is extremely popular among colleges across the country, and would do a great deal to bring together both current students and alumni, while fostering a greater sense of school spirit that far extends the boundaries of campus.
One aspect of this past weekend that should change in the future is the exclusivity of the alumni events. While we understand that Alumni Weekend should cater primarily to alumni, we would hope that future Alumni Weekends could do more to bring current and former students together. Former and current students have the ability to bond during smaller, more intimate events hosted by student organizations. But the University did not offer a campus-wide event that would appeal to both groups. GW needs a compelling event – other than a concert with a limited number of tickets for current students – that is University-centered. With a unifying event such as a basketball game, current students and alumni could have the opportunity to intermingle in the stands of the Smith Center.
Seeing as GW does not have a football team, the University would have to push Alumni Weekend back so the weekend could coincide with a basketball game. While football games are typically the focus of homecoming weekends at other schools, GW would not be alone in featuring a different athletic event. For example, Northeastern University hosts both a basketball and hockey game during its homecoming weekend, both of which draw large crowds of current students and alumni.
Homecoming weekend at GW would give students an opportunity to bond with alumni, and would hopefully draw even more former Colonials to campus for the weekend. This type of event would give all students a better sense of history of the University, and would do a great deal to promote community and campus spirit.
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