Homecoming at IUP will be different this year as the festivities go virtual until Oct. 10.
“We, the Homecoming Committee, know many people look forward to IUP Homecoming experience each year,” Sara Lawer, director of alumni relations at IUP said. “We wanted to keep some of the traditional programs alive, while infusing new programs.
“Knowing that in-person was not possible, Zoom, Twitch, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram are all playing important roles in this year's program.”
Although traditional events such as football games and the homecoming parade have been canceled due to the pandemic, virtual sessions open to the community have been planned. This includes video footage of past parades that will be shown on IUP’s social media channels on Oct. 10 at 10 a.m., which is when the cannon has started the parade in previous years on Philadelphia Street. The video montage will revisit the parades from the last 50 years set to the music of the IUP Marching Band.
“The biggest difference would have to be the virtual presence of our programs on all fronts for both students as well as alumni,” Lawer said. “In the past, Homecoming has been an in-person experience, (i.e. the parade, the football game, the Homecoming concert), which was not feasible right now.”
A virtual show titled “Coach’s Show Special: IUP Homecoming” will begin at 2 p.m. following the virtual parade. This show will feature “the voice of IUP Football” Jack Benedict and former IUP football coach Frank Cignetti discussing the 2005 IUP versus Slippery Rock Homecoming game,” according to an IUP press release.
They will also talk about IUP players who participated in the win, after which the 2005 game will air. The halftime performance will from the Oct. 3 concert by the 2020 IUP Marching Band.
Spirit Week will also be held from Oct. 4 to 11 with themes ranging from “Throwback Thursday” to “Where Are You Now” day.
The IUP Office of Alumni and Friends will be offering “Homecoming in a Box” throughout the week. The box includes an IUP t-shirt, mug and pom-pom among other things meant to help alumni and friends celebrate virtual homecoming. The boxes are available for $40 on the IUP website.
“Imagine IUP Homecoming Wherever You Are has afforded us the opportunity for students both in Indiana and in their hometowns, as well as alumni from around the globe to participate together virtually,” said Lawer. “It also allowed us to broaden the timeframe to a week-long celebration, instead of just Thursday through Sunday.
“I hope that the community, students, alumni, and IUP faculty and staff can anticipate something for everyone. The Homecoming Committee put forward an extensive list worth of events for individuals to attend.”
STATIC at IUP also has a lineup of events for virtual Homecoming.
“During homecoming, STATIC will host a Netflix Watch Party featuring Hasan Minhaj’s Homecoming King on Wednesday, Oct. 7,” Zachary Clark, STATIC advisor said, “and the IUP Homecoming Concert 2020 featuring D Smoke and Flawless Real Talk on Thursday, Oct. 8.”