Manchester University
Oak Leaves

October 2, 2020


Graphic provided by MU

Homecoming Pregame Brings Alumni Back to Campus Virtually

Emily Ewen

Did Homecoming look a little different to you this year? Just like everything else, there had to be a lot of tweaks to make this Homecoming possible.

MAC, Alumni Relations and Spartan Choices were among the organizations and clubs that worked hard to create COVID-friendly activities to allow the student body and alumni to participate. During the week there was a day for dogs to come on campus, late night breakfast was served, free drinks were being given out at Sisters and there was even a petting farm. It was a safe and fun way to still celebrate Homecoming as much as possible.

There was a Homecoming pre-game ceremony held on Sat., Sept. 26, at noon. This video stream was kicked off with alumnus Ray Hedstrom, who graduated in the class of 1969. He welcomed those watching, discussing the development of the beautiful, new stadium. He said that he hopes he is able to announce games in the Spartan Stadium once again in the spring. The cheerleaders then performed with the new marching band, on the new field, masked up and socially distanced. After a lovely performance, there was an interview with Nate Jensen, Manchester’s head football coach. He thanked the donors and discussed the short season, hoping to fully resume in the spring.

Kylee Moss, director of Alumni Relations, said that she feels really good about the events, all of them having seemed to run well and smoothly. However, COVID had forced their offices to work from home, so they were heavily reliant on technology during these events.

Almost all the alumni events were held online, so the pressure for it to work and be accessible was important. “In-person events are very organic and flow easily,” she said. Working primarily with technology can create issues; just one problem could have possibly forced them to cancel events. Because of the primary and large use of technology, Moss was not really worried about COVID causing issues. "Actually, someone with COVID could participate with us!” she said with enthusiasm.

Homecoming week was extra exciting for those working in Alumni Relations because they had gotten the opportunity to see, talk to and engage with alumni that they normally would not connect with, Moss said. A lot of alumni are out-of-state, so they would not usually be at Homecoming events; the virtual activities and live streams allowed them to be present.

The office enjoyed having the opportunity to grow their skills in virtual events, which Moss says was something out of her comfort zone. Although this was the case, she thinks their office did what she calls an “outstanding” job.

It was a bit difficult to create events that would entice alumni, she said, but she had faith in her team, stating that she felt great about all the events they had brainstormed and created.

Moss says that she thinks they will continue to do virtual events throughout the year and especially for Homecoming 2021.