By The Gatepost Editorial Board
Homecoming and Family Weekend brought students, families, and alumni to campus last weekend for an array of exciting activities and traditions.
Administrators and staff members showed up in their aprons to serve french toast sticks and sausages, and members of The Gatepost ventured across campus to capture photos of the events and gather quotes from attendees. We had a chance to participate in the action ourselves. However, we couldn’t help but notice something missing.
The majority of the events lacked attendance from upperclassmen.
It felt as though there was a stigma that all of the events were “just for freshmen.” It is called “Homecoming Weekend,” but first-year students just got here. How can they be coming home?
Other than the football game, the second day offered resource panels and classroom experiences focused on educating first-year students and their parents.
We understand how crucial these events geared toward the first-year family experience are for building a strong foundation for students so they have the necessary guidance to stay and succeed at Framingham State.
But a weekend like this is basically a second orientation - which few students are interested in or need because they already have this support in their First-Year Seminars.
Providing a fun student experience is also necessary for retaining students - including sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Considering Homecoming and Family Weekend is one of the biggest events of the year, it should be planned with all students and everyone in the FSU community in mind.
What student over the age of 20 or 21 wants to go to a fake casino where you gamble Elvis dollars? You can do something similar at Toys R Us.
Other events throughout the first part of the weekend included giant lawn games, and a band.
These are all activities that were featured during orientation. The lawn games have been on the grounds throughout September.
Students should not have to go off campus to find age-appropriate and lively Homecoming festivities when their student fees and tuition pay for them.
Homecoming is supposed to be special.
But how can Homecoming be attractive for students, even first-years, when featured activities are so strongly associated with orientation, or - in the case of the lawn games - not new or different at all?
We understand there are budgetary restrictions, but we expect the planning for the events for this exciting weekend to be more creative.
State Street was closed, but for what? Not everyone who stood in line for nearly an hour for the Food Truck was even served.
At least if there were two or three additional food trucks, everyone with a food voucher for a free meal would have had a chance to be served.
In addition, there could be live music throughout the weekend rather than just for a small two-hour window on the first day. Performances could be scheduled in the dining commons during Moonlight Breakfast or on Larned Beach.
The performers do not have to be big artists, either. We could feature local groups or alumni musicians, along with our own student bands.
Maybe there could even be a Homecoming Dance after the football game at the Warren Conference Center, which is even more of a no-brainer considering there is currently a ballroom being constructed there. Students could receive alcohol vouchers and quality food could be served.
Perhaps there could be an outdoor grilling party before the football game on Larned Beach for students, family, and alumni.
To generate more school spirit leading up to the weekend, various student organizations and sports teams could be spotlighted each day in the McCarthy lobby to give away swag.
Events that are geared toward engaging first-year students are necessary and should not be excluded from the weekend. However, there should be a reconsideration as to how to make Homecoming more fun and engaging for returning students. Homecoming is a wonderful time when the leaves are changing, and the community comes together to remember that we are indeed a fRAMily.
But it doesn’t make sense to do it without everyone here to celebrate.