Homecoming this year is important to all students, faculty and staff, but it is especially important to AU alumni after missing out on a year of full homecoming activities due to the pandemic.
There has been much anticipation surrounding both the staple homecoming events that alumni and current students will be able to attend and being able to reconnect with friends and faculty.
“I want to come back to see my friends and professors,” said alumna Taylor Brooks. “It just feels good to network with other people in the AU community.”
Being able to come back to AU means reconnecting with the AU family.
“I am coming back to AU’s Homecoming to be able to see friends, who are more like family, that I haven’t seen in a few years due to COVID-19,” said alumna Tori Robinson.
For many alumni, coming back to AU for Homecoming after being away from campus also means bringing back all the good memories from their college experience.
“Not only do you reconnect with people who have had a big impact on your life but you also get to relive all the memories you have from being a student,” said alumnus and former Student Body President Daniel Gaines.
Being a smaller university also gives alumni the unique opportunity to connect with past professors they have formed relationships with.
“I’m also excited to come back and talk with professors who helped shape not only my academic career, but also helped shape me into the person I am today professionally,” said Robinson.
Every year the luminaries are one of the signature events of AU’s Homecoming. Many former Ravens put this at the top of their lists as their favorite homecoming event.
“If I had to pick my favorite homecoming event, it would definitely be luminaries and being back in the valley,” said Brooks. “Just seeing people reunite in the valley is so awesome.”
Several alumni have very personal connections to the luminaries that make the event even more memorable.
“My wife and I both enjoy the luminaries Friday night,” said Gaines. “In fact, I knew that my wife loved them so much that when I proposed I created our own luminaries after the AU tradition and used them to tell our story.”
Events like the luminaries are just one of the many traditions at AU Homecomings. These traditions are some of the most unique and meaningful things about the student experience at AU.
“I think tradition is really important at AU… and the traditions at AU do a really good job of continuing the community at Anderson,” said Brooks.
Brooks also emphasized how different the AU Homecoming experience is from other schools, especially larger universities, and how easy it can be to forget that. From her interactions with alumni from other universities, Brooks acknowledges that there is often less of a personal connection for them to homecoming. AU alumni recognize the importance of tradition and the AU family, making Homecoming such an amazing experience each year.