By Alexa Binkowitz
As you pull into Sacred Heart University, you are surrounded by a sea of red and white balloons, welcome signs and tons of students and faculty gathered on campus. You cannot help but wonder what event could bring so much of the Sacred Heart community together.
This past weekend, Sacred Heart hosted its annual Homecoming event, welcoming back alumni and their families to campus.
Homecoming weekend consisted of alumni, specific events, the football game against Marist College, and reunions for Orientation Leaders, Exercise Science alumni, Social Work alumni, and many more.
“It was great being back at SHU, a special place where I share many memories and lifelong friendships. Sacred Heart will always feel like a second home to me. I’m looking forward to next time,” said Danielle Belson, class of 2014.
The weekend kicked off on Friday afternoon, with the Alumni Awards Ceremony and Luncheon, which honors accomplished alumni for their achievements after graduation.
Red’s Pub then invited alumni to “Pints with Professors,” which allowed alumni to re-connect with professors and staff members.
Perhaps the biggest and most attended event was the football game against Marist College, which debuted the new scoreboard at Campus Field. There was even a tailgate behind the field where the Scared Heart community parked their cars and enjoyed food, music and drinks.
Sacred Heart defeated Marist 31-6. The Pioneers are now 3-0 in their football season.
“My favorite part of Homecoming is that part of the game when the football players are playing for their last few minutes of the second quarter and then break for half time. Then half time starts and you get to see the band play their hearts out,” said junior Cory Robinson. “For some reason, those two groups of our Sacred Heart family showing what they take pride in, makes me so proud to be a Pioneer.”
For alumni specifically, Homecoming is an incredibly important weekend, no matter if they graduated last year or 50 years ago.
“It was a lot of fun. It was awesome to see all my friends again and be able to enjoy being back at Sacred Heart. Being only a few months out is not a long time, but it’s weird not coming back and actually being in school,” said Filipe Lobato, class of 2016.
A majority of the weekend was dedicated to seeing old friends, as well as re-living the memories of the alumni’s years at Sacred Heart.
“As an alumni, Homecoming gives me a chance to get together with all my Sacred Heart friends. Getting together with my fellow alumni reminds me of all the great times we had as undergrads and of why I love Sacred Heart as much as I do,” said Marie Nakos, class of 2015.
“Even though I’m still around campus as a staff member and get to experience Sacred Heart everyday, Homecoming is a special opportunity to celebrate our amazing community with the great friends Sacred Heart gave me,” she said.
Even professors and staff members enjoy the weekend because it allows them to interact with past students and their families.
“I work at the Sacred Heart Bookstore and this year many alumni came in and expressed how happy they were to be back and that they could ‘barely recognize the campus’,” said junior Leah Ferriby. “Every year Homecoming Weekend gets bigger and bigger due to more alumni and a growing student body.”
To conclude the weekend, alumni and their family members were invited to attend an Alumni Mass officiated by Father Bruce.
“For us students, Homecoming is a time to get together with friends to go cheer on our school. But for alumni it’s a reason to come home, see their friends, past professors or in other words, family,” said Robinson. “Being that the first graduating class is celebrating 50 years of having graduated from Sacred Heart, I think it’s so important to cherish any opportunity to come home.”