The University of Northern Colorado’s 99th Homecoming game this past week saw a stadium filled with students and their families, but Homecoming is more than just a game.
The celebration of tradition began during the week with spirit days, when students and staff wear different attires corresponding with that day. For example, students and staff can wore sports jerseys on Thursday, have crazy hair on Wednesday and wear school gear on Friday.
Activities such as Bears Lip Sync, hosted by Greek Life, and the bonfire last Thursday and Friday also added on to celebrating the traditions of Homecoming on campus. Students from different classes gathered to celebrate and carry on the Homecoming traditions.
The main event of Homecoming was this past Saturday. Before students and their families packed Nottingham Field on a warm 77-degree day to support the UNC Bears football team, students and families began by celebrating a lifelong Homecoming tradition: tailgating.
Tailgating has always been a constant in football at both the college and professional levels to celebrate and cherish the traditions shared between friends and family before the game is played. This past Saturday was no different, carrying the tradition on with UNC blue and gold.
Rows of cars, RVs and trucks filled up the Y parking lot and the Candelaria Hall parking lot with students and families setting up tables with games, free UNC gear and food. Competitions like the hot wings eating challenge provided more celebration of traditions for Homecoming.
First-year students at UNC have more of a unique experience compared to second year students when it comes to celebrating Homecoming week. First-year students are experiencing firsthand how UNC celebrates Homecoming compared to the high school they came from.
Josh Wallace, a first-year student majoring in business, had the chance to experience the way UNC celebrated Homecoming this past week for the first time, comparing it to his experience of high school Homecoming.
“So high school for me, we had 3,600 kids which is really a lot, so we had to have it formalized with rules to follow,” said Wallace. “At UNC, I went to the tailgate and had the time of my life. It felt like a state fair where you can walk around and do whatever you want.”
While first-year students got to experience for the first time how UNC puts on Homecoming, second-year students get to return and celebrate homecoming traditions with their friends. Second-year students at UNC have a year of experience compared to first-year students, knowing what goes on which day and which event they look forward to the most.
Yehikat Leal, a second-year student majoring in anthropology, was one of those second-year students that returned to relive and celebrate homecoming traditions. “I personally really enjoyed the tailgate; it is a good bonding experience for the people that show up,” Leal said. “That is my favorite. There were more activities and people present at the tailgate for homecoming compared to a regular tailgate.”
Altogether, UNC’s 99th Homecoming was a week filled with spirit and celebration of traditions for students from every year. Homecoming was a nonstop week of celebrating and sharing traditions with one another. Homecoming started and maintained a high level of excitement throughout the week from spirit days to the homecoming game.
UNC Bears defeated the Idaho State Bengals 35-14, sending the UNC faithful home happy. The UNC Bears next home game will be on October 15th at 1pm against the Montana State Bobcats.