Why did students go home for homecoming?

By Angelina Miller
October 26, 2017

Cabrini University was considerably empty for Homecoming weekend. Photo by Hope Daluisio.

Cabrini University is a current home to more than 2,400 students and a former home to 17,000 alumni; however, only a few hundred faces seem to still treat Cabrini as their home away from home. On Saturday, Oct. 14 alone, a mere 300 alumni and students combined were the only ones to pass through Cabrini’s main homecoming festival events.

One of the main causes of this could be the fact that the only sports game held on Cabrini’s campus over the weekend was a men’s lacrosse alumni game. In addition to that, some of the only forms of student life that were offered for Cabrini students on Saturday and Sunday were food, big prize bingo, a dance and other juvenile activities such as face painting and bouncy houses. Can students be blamed for thinking a weekend at home with family or a day at a larger university sports game with friends may be more appealing?

After a successful Class of ’66 reunion during 2016’s Homecoming Weekend, a long lost tradition of Alumni Weekend and Homecoming Weekend being combined was rekindled for 2017. This decision was ultimately made to allow alumni, students, parents and friends to relive the past and embrace new traditions together on Cabrini’s campus. All Cabrini community members from the 2,400 students, their parents and friends, to 7,000+ alumni were all notified about and invited to attend the weekend events.

Homecoming weekend was kicked off with a bonfire pep rally, the classic Mr. and Ms. Cabrini pageant and an honors convocation to recognize the achievements of Cabrini students. From Saturday to Sunday, if students were not interested in the family friendly activities of music, crafts, games and a dance, the weekend did not have much to offer.

On the other hand, Alumni were personally invited to Cavs Garden with a variety of local craft beers, a late night barbeque bash, a dance in the mansion, a Sunday brunch in CAVS Corner and a special luncheon for the class of 1967. The classes of 2017, 2012, 2007, 2002, 1997, 1992 and 1987 were honored at the Barbeque Bash. The reunion classes of 1982, 1977, 1972, 1967 and 1962 were honored at Dancin’ in the Mansion; however, out of 17,000 current alumni, only a few hundred showed.

On campus, there may be a problem with Cabrini’s overall student life and engagement. While there is no question that students are dedicated and involved year to year, it generally becomes the same groups of students that run and attend student life events and activities. This is because a majority of events and opportunities that Cabrini has to offer, especially on the weekends, do not reflect the feel of college life for students.

Social media also inevitably plays a large role in the lives of young adults. During homecoming weekend, college students at a small school like Cabrini see photos and videos on Facebook and Instagram of tailgates, parades, sports games and so forth going on at larger schools. This can make them want to leave their small campus to take part in larger college life activities. A university lacking a typical style of student life, spirit and togetherness will lead students to feel as if they do not truly have a home away from home.

This is truly saddening for not only current Cabrini students, but alumni as well. If alumni did not feel as if Cabrini is their home when they were students, they may not see the need to ever return for homecoming or alumni weekend. While Cabrini’s lacrosse team even had an alumni game on Saturday, Oct. 14, a majority of alumni moved onward to local bars and restaurants after the game instead of staying for on campus events.  

Cabrini’s alumni board views alumni weekend as a consistent work in progress that they plan on improving in the years to come. Looking onward, there has already been word of adjusting the reunion classes that are celebrated to consist of a 25th reunion, a 50th reunion and a more general “all class” reunion. There has also been thoughts of altering the previous alumni weekend “house crawl” to be a “campus crawl” all over Cabrini’s campus.

When it comes to invitations, alumni plan to send postcards in the mail to more than 15,000 people and parents. They also hope to push advertising more on social media platforms; however, one will have to see for themselves if these tactics work to bring more alumni back to what used to be their home.

For students, the problem of homecoming events lacking the typical college feel may always be an issue year. Students in search of a small school academically but a large school on the weekends could potentially never find a true feel of home in Cabrini. The alumni office is completely open to hearing out student opinions on what they liked about 2017’s homecoming weekend, and what they would like changed going forward.

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Angelina Miller

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