As according to the Oxford English Dictionary, homecoming is “the action or an act of returning to one's home, household, or native land; an arrival at home”. In a U.S. context, it is “an annual event for former (and current) students at a high school, college or university”. As collegians, many of us already hold a personal understanding of homecoming. It is the football or basketball game. It is the tailgate. It is wearing our school colors and singing our fight songs and chants in unison. It is spending time with friends, family and of course, sisters.
And for me, it is also that one time it rained and I showed up drenched but, didn’t mind because my sisters were all drenched and happy regardless. Or that one time it snowed and many of the roads were still closed so we hiked through the many feet of snow, claiming such a trip as our workout for the week. And, when I won a free gift card from the flying blimp (excellent marketing by the way. Wegmans has been my go-to ever since.)
These are my examples of my personal perception of homecoming. However, just as we as individuals change, our understandings change. This is especially exemplified through homecoming as homecoming is tied to the creation and re-visitation of memories.
The definition of the word itself is indicative as such through the word “returning”. Homecoming is the act of returning. Returning to school. Returning to friends, family and sisters. It is returning to memories. To remember is to keep in mind and never forget. It permits the act of moving forward while simultaneously shaping our future selves by referencing the past.
For current students, in simplest terms, remembrance is bringing your jacket this year because you forgot one last year. For alumna, it is sitting away from the student section, but still wearing your class ring. It is appreciating the old and welcoming the new.
Homecoming is one of three times a year where school pride as well as Alpha Phi pride is at a high which is visible for all to see (the other two times being formal recruitment season and Greek Week). It is the time of year in which the past meets the present and enjoyment and memories are shared amongst all. With the past, present and future, there’s no better way to spend such a special time of year than with sisters held near.
Christina Castle is a collegiate member at George Mason University (Eta Lambda). To learn more about Christina, click here.