WMU's 2014 homecoming is just around the corner

contact: Jeanne Baron
| WMU News

Photo of students at WMU's 2013 Homecoming football game.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A host of exciting activities are taking place on and off the Western Michigan University campus during Homecoming week Monday through Sunday, Oct. 20-26, and Family Weekend, Friday through Sunday, Oct. 24-26.

This year's homecoming theme is "We Will Reign," but with dozens of free or low-cost activities taking place, it's anybody's guess which of them will be crowned among the 2014 favorites.

Revelers should note that advance registration is required for many activities, even some that are free.

Also, various shops and restaurants in downtown Kalamazoo are getting into the spirit by putting up window displays for homecoming week, and some 70 business are providing discounts to students and holders of WMU's Concierge Card. There is no cost for the card, which offers local as well as national discounts and services.

Help break a world record

In addition to participating in traditional activities such as voting for king and queen and staging Bronco pride events, students will be celebrating homecoming week by joining with the Kalamazoo community to try and break a world record.

Members of the public are invited to gather from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21, on campus at Kanley Track to break the record for the most people wearing sunglasses in the dark. The existing record is 1,675 people, set by Gilda's LaughFest (USA) in Grand Rapids March 6. WMU's event, which symbolically demonstrates that people can achieve more when they work together, will include live entertainment as well as food. The first 2,000 participants will receive a free pair of sunglasses.

Students are also organizing the second homecoming pep rally on WMU's West Campus pedestrian mall in front of Sangren Hall at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24. The event, which will be preceded by the traditional Yell Like Yell contest at 6:30 p.m., includes classic spirit games, free food and music, and presentation of the 2014 "WMU's Most Spirited" trophy for the University's best decorated office.

Family Weekend is popular tradition

Family Weekend is a great time for parents and other family members to visit campus and enjoy time with their college student. Special activities and discounts are being offered by the Parent and Family Programs office to those who choose to register and make the necessary prior arrangements.

They include working out for free at the Student Recreation Center as well as gathering together for tailgating and the football game. The weekend concludes Sunday with a brunch for families and alumni from 9 a.m. to noon in the Bigelow Dining Hall, with WMU students providing musical entertainment.

Non-stop action taking place homecoming day

The main event Saturday, Oct. 25, is the homecoming football game that pits the WMU Broncos against the Ohio University Bobcats at 2 p.m. in Waldo Stadium. However, the day will begin and end with numerous other activities.

Thousands of visitors as well as WMU students, alumni and friends will gather by the Student Recreation Center for the 16th Homecoming Campus Classic 1K fun run at 8:45 a.m. and 5K run or walk at 9:15 a.m. Volunteers and participants may register online or on-site, and both receive free food and prizes during the event.

Another popular activity on homecoming day is the Alumni, Family and Friends Homecoming Tailgate at 11 a.m. in Parking Lot 1, just off of Oakland Drive between East Hall and Walwood Hall. Attendees will be able to rev up for the gridiron contest with fellow alumni and Bronco fans while enjoying all-you-can-eat BBQ, live entertainment and fun activities for the entire family. A key feature of the tailgate will be College Alley, where attendees can play games and earn prizes while learning more about various academic disciplines as well as WMU's seven degree-granting colleges.

A capstone to many people's homecoming celebration is the National Pan-Hellenic Council Marchdown at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in the Bernhard Center's East Ballroom. Originally brought to campus by the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, this step show and display of Greek life pride has become a signature homecoming experience that attracts local crowds as well as visitors from other universities.

Variety of other activities scheduled

Many more homecoming events are detailed at wmich.edu/homecoming, wmich.edu/parents and mywmu.com. Events include:

  • Multicultural Review—7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 20, on the main campus in the Dalton Recital Hall. This popular celebration of the diversity of cultures at WMU includes a talent showcase featuring student performances and displays of student art.
  • Western Wednesday—11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, on the main campus at the Campus Flagpoles by the Lee Honors College. WMU President John M. Dunn will kick off this celebration of Bronco pride along with the WMU Marching Band and Buster Bronco, WMU's mascot. The event also will include food and games as well as entertainment by Kalamazoo's alternative radio station Z96.5-WZOX. Funds raised will go to the Invisible Need Project, a multi-faceted initiative that helps WMU students who have critical unmet needs.
  • Aviation gala—Friday, Oct. 24, at the College of Aviation campus at the W.K. Kellogg Airport, 237 N. Helmer Road in Battle Creek. This event marks the 75th anniversary of aviation education at WMU. It begins with a social hour at 5 p.m. followed by dinner at 6 p.m. The program and awards ceremony will start at 8 p.m. Dr. Curtis "Doc" Swanson, WMU associate professor emeritus of aviation sciences, and Clarence "Pappy" VanDeventer, WMU associate professor emeritus of transportation technology, will be inducted into the College of Aviation Hall of Honor. Albert Glenn, a captain for FedEx Express and member of the Tuskegee Airmen, will receive the college's Excellence in Diversity Award.
  • Distinguished Alumni Awards reception—6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24, on the main campus in the Bernhard Center's East Ballroom. This event honors the recipients of WMU's 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award: Wendell L. Christoff, CEO of Litehouse Foods; Daniel J. Martin, dean of the College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University; and Donald Southwell, chairman of the board of Kemper Corp. It will include light food and entertainment. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the program will begin at 7 p.m.
  • Pancake breakfast—10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 25, in Parking Lot 1 between East Hall and Walwood halls. This free Haworth College of Business breakfast feast features all-you-can-eat pancakes, sausage, coffee and orange juice served by world-record pancake flipper, Chris Cakes. Attendees may park by Lawson Ice Arena and take a shuttle bus to the site.
  • Parade of Flags—just before the football game kickoff Saturday, Oct. 25, in Waldo Stadium. Those who sign up before all the flags are reserved can help put the "home" in homecoming by walking across the playing field carrying flags from nations around the world. They assemble their flags at a complementary pregame tailgate. To register, contact the International Student Activities office at intl-activities@wmich.edu or (269) 387-3966.

For more news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.

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