UMass’ nine-day-long Homecoming kicks off today

By Sam Hayes

Samantha Webber/Collegian

While other schools across the country celebrate their homecoming for two days this weekend, the University of Massachusetts will be kicking off a nine-day-long Homecoming week today that will stretch across two weekends and have more than 60 events.

UMass Alumni Association Director of Communications and Marketing Elena Lamontagne said that the University expects a high turnout for the events across the campus and the state, particularly the football game Saturday at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.

“We are looking to make this the largest alumni and fan gathering in UMass history,” Lamontagne said. “It is a wonderful opportunity for families to come and enjoy the Gillette experience together.”

She said the University is “creating a new tradition” with the Homecoming festivities.

Lamontagne explained that because the football game is the traditional main event of Homecoming weekend and because Foxboro is so far from Amherst, they have scheduled all events so as to not interfere with the game.

“We specifically planned the week so there no conflicts,” she said.

The UMass Alumni began planning for homecoming about year ago, right after last year’s came to an end.

Lamontagne explained that it took “a lot of coordination and a lot of partnership” to create “an engaging experience to make alumni to want to come back to UMass.”

The Alumni Association worked with UMass athletic departments, the different schools and colleges, Gillette Stadium and student groups to form the events planned for the upcoming week.

Homecoming has a long tradition at UMass with the first celebrations beginning in the 1930s as a winter festival.

Here are some of the events that will be at the 2012 celebration of UMass Homecoming:

Nearly Naked Mile

Today, at 5 p.m., students will run from Northeast Quad to Southwest Concourse in boxers, bras and bathing suits to raise awareness of the issue of people dealing with homelessness across Massachusetts who do not have appropriate clothing for the cold season. The event costs $15 and all donations go to Amherst Survival Center. Registration and pre-run activities, like body painting begin at 4 p.m. There are awards for the most creative appearance and t-shirt tie-dyeing at the finish line.

Gillette Stadium

The Minutemen will be taking on Bowling Green on the field at noon on Saturday. But that won’t be the only UMass activity in Foxboro.

At 10:30 a.m., the UMass alumni fan zone will be up and running at the CBS Scene next to Gillette Stadium, for a spot to grab food and watch the procession of football players, cheerleaders and marching band members enter the stadium. MinuteFan Park offers a spot for the MinuteChild with music and bounce houses as well as a pep rally lead by UMass cheerleaders. Nearby, just outside the CBS Scene in parking lot 4B, there will be a Stockbridge School of Agriculture and College of Natural Sciences alumni gathering.

Pumpkin Festival

The first annual Stockbridge Pumpkin Festival will be a display of carved pumpkins. Run by fraternity Alpha Tau Gamma, the event will run from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday outside Stockbridge Hall and is free to spectators. If you want to participate you can buy your pumpkin through Saturday at Berkshire or Franklin Dining Commons, the Campus Center or the ATG house at 118 Sunset Ave. After the competition all entries will be composted.

Warsaw Philharmonic

Monday night the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and 25-year-old Yulianna Avdeeva will play at Fine Arts Center Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m. Avdeeva is the 2010 first place winner of the International Frederic Chopin Competition and the first woman to ever win the award. The concert is $10 for students.

Go UMass

Tuesday at 11 a.m. at the Campus Center there will be UMass Pride activities including giveaways and food.

It’s Great 2B American

Dan Kwong’s show “It’s Great 2B American” was described as “a funny, fierce, highly political piece” with “equal parts documentary travelogue, satirical dance review, irreverent history lesson and poignant storytelling” by the Alumni Association. Kwong goes on at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday at Stockbridge Hall in Bowker Auditorium.

Next Friday

Friday, Oct. 26, is filled with Homecoming events. There will be a Music Alumni Reunion dinner at 4 p.m. before the 38th Annual Multiband Pops Concert at 8 p.m. at the Fine Arts Center, which includes the Minuteman Marching Band as well as brass, jazz, percussion, vocal and dance music. UPC will be hosting “Club U,” a homecoming dance from 10 p.m to 2 a.m. in the Curry Hicks Cage.

Art Crawl

Saturday, Oct. 27, UMass invites alumni and parents to visit the University’s student galleries around campus as well as the Student Union Gallery with the “Elusive” paper sculpture exhibit and the University Museum of Contemporary Art with work from music and visual artist Celeste Boursier-Mougenot.

Revolution Run

Registration opens for the official Revolution Run Homecoming 5k at 8 a.m. on Saturday. The course is U.S. Track & Field certified and will include electronic timing. The race begins at 9 a.m. with awards for first, second and third in various categories of age. Proceeds go to UMass Campus Recreation.

Ice

The UMass men’s hockey team will take on Boston University Saturday night at the Mullins Center. Next door, from 1:30 to 3 p.m., at the Community Ice Rink, there is free open skating followed by a figure-skating exhibition.

Parading around

Saturday at noon the Homecoming Parade will commence, starting at Lot 22 and going through Southwest to the Student Union. The parade will feature the Minuteman Marching Band and floats made by student and campus groups.

Fall Festival

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday Oct. 27, the UMass Fall Festival will be in full swing on the W.E.B DuBois Library lawn. The Festival will include demonstrations by the UMass Police Department on texting and driving, by the ROTC and the AFROTC and Plant and Soil Sciences. The cheerleaders, dance team, student talent show and Sam the Minuteman will provide entertainment. The festival will also include fall-themed wine and beer, student-run business showcases, a Kid-zone, student-zone, food, UMass apparel as well as Baby Berk and the new food truck.

There are many more events throughout the week, for more information visit umassalumni.com/homecoming.

Sam Hayes can be reached at [email protected]