Spirit Kickoff marks the beginning of UMass Homecoming 2019

Students won UMass prizes at Homecoming Spirit Kickoff while thanking donors

Collegian+File+Photo

Collegian File Photo

By Sara Abdelouahed, Collegian Correspondent

The University of Massachusetts began its Homecoming 2019 on Thursday with the Homecoming Spirit Kickoff at the Campus Center as students gathered to win UMass swag there and at other locations around campus.

Members of the UMass Amherst Alumni Association and the University Programming Council ran the event in which students could write a thank you note to donors in exchange for a chance to win prizes.

“Students get a chance to reach out to donors,” said Sarah Cotton, a junior public health and political science major. After doing so, they had the opportunity to try their hand at arcade style basketball or answer UMass trivia.

Although Homecoming plays a large role at UMass, not everyone has participated in  school-hosted activities. Catherine Terrell, a sophomore psychology and neurology major, said the 2019 Kickoff was the first event she ever partook in.

“It was good,” she said. “I filled out some of the postcards, which was nice.”

Many left the Campus Center sporting new maroon apparel. “We have some really cool socks as well as shirts to give out,” Angelo Cerbone, a senior biochemistry major, pointed out. But the event wasn’t just about winning free items.

“I love seeing people gather and just have a good time,” Cerbone said. His sentiment was echoed by other students visiting the event as well.

Roy Kirwa, a junior civil engineering major, believes the event reflected what Homecoming is all about.

“I think Homecoming is a time for people to come together,” he said. “We come together as a University.”

While the official Spirit Kickoff continued at the Campus Center, smaller set-ups popped up around campus. Both libraries on campus, W.E.B. Du Bois and the Science and Engineering Library, provided students with the opportunity to thank donors in the form of handwritten cards.

“We’re. . . showing our spirit and thanking our donors for the love that they give us,” said Kim Fill, the assistant director of Library Annual Giving and Donor Relations. “They support the many resources, spaces [and] technology. All the things that we offer here in the library are made possible because of the generosity of our donors.”

At Du Bois Library, students had the opportunity to fill out cards specifically for donors of the library or for those who donate to the campus as a whole.

According to Fill, UMass receives only 20 percent of its budget from the state, making every donor contribution necessary for the University to succeed.

“Many students don’t know that [the figure] is so low,” Fill said.

UMass continued to celebrate Homecoming with the Block Party on Friday evening, followed by the Revolution Run Homecoming 5K, Football Game, Parade and Royalty Crowning on Saturday.

Sara Abdelouahed can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @AbdelouahedSara.