DU Community Celebrates the 2018 Homecoming and Family Weekend
Celebrating a national championship during Homecoming and Family Weekend is becoming a tradition at the University of Denver. Last weekend the DU community helped commemorate the ski team’s 24th NCAA National Championship. Denver has now won at least one championship in each of the last five athletic seasons, joining only Stanford to accomplish this feat.
The championship festivities were part of a four-day extravaganza chock full of different activities and sporting events. It all started on Thursday evening with a pep rally and breakfast for dinner event for students and the DU community. On Friday evening, students kept the celebration going with Fall Fest on the Campus Green. Participants enjoyed pumpkin painting, caramel apple making, lawn games and food trucks for everyone to enjoy.
“We are really trying to make Homecoming more of a tradition,” says Kira Pratt, external president for the DU Programming Board. “We wanted to make something that all of the undergraduate students and their families could come and have fun at.”
While this is the first year for Fall Fest, the Homecoming parade has deep roots. It has changed over the years, but whether grandiose or modest, it continues to appeal to the entire DU community.
“I think it goes back to what Homecoming means to a lot of people,” says Holden Fitzgerald, vice president for Undergraduate Student Government. “I grew up in a small town in Kansas, and parades [were] something that we always had leading up to homecoming. We thought we might do something similar, and what’s better than some wagons going around in a circle? It’s a great chance for people to show creativity and get involved with the clubs they are a part of.”
For the second consecutive year, the University hosted the Hocktoberfest celebration before DU’s first hockey home game. More than 1,100 alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff and community members came out for the event.
“Part of the tradition that we are trying to build through Hocktoberfest is really helping it feel like a warm and welcoming environment for alumni to come back to,” says Brandon Buzbee, associate vice chancellor for global networks. “We are merging beer, good food and hockey, three things that a lot of people love.”
Hocktoberfest also featured 17 different student groups from around campus, providing an opportunity for alums to connect with the groups that enlivened their own years at DU, to see old friends, and meet current students and staff.
Following Hocktoberfest, a sellout crowd watched DU win the first home hockey game of the year. The Pioneers defeated Alabama-Huntsville by a final score of 6-0, improving to 2-0 on the season.
“My first home game as vice chancellor, and we have a sold-out crowd for Homecoming. I could not imagine a better scenario,” says Karlton Creech, vice chancellor for Athletics, Recreation and Ritchie Center Operations. “We are so grateful for all the support we receive and to have all the parents here for Parents Weekend and the alums back for Homecoming.”
That support was paid off on DU score boards. The women’s volleyball team defeated Purdue Fort Wayne on Friday and Western Illinois on Sunday. The women’s soccer team beat North Dakota 1-0 on frigid Sunday afternoon at the University of Denver Soccer Stadium.