Senior Staff Writer
UNC Greensboro’s homecoming is right around the corner, but this year’s celebration is going to look a little different. There will be no alumni “coming home” to UNCG for the homecoming festivities. On September 13th, the university announced that due to the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases caused by the Delta Variant, UNCG will not be inviting their alumni to attend their in-person celebration of homecoming, stating that they will host a one-day celebration for our “future alumni.”
This was a shocking blow to many alumni that were looking forward to returning to their alma mater. UNCG alumni Chance Bartenfield, a recent graduate from the class of 2021, says that while he understands the safety concerns, he was still deeply saddened by the news.
“As someone whose senior year was during the height of the pandemic, myself and others felt disappointed that our college experience would be so different than others. My senior year’s homecoming was moved completely online, so I was especially looking forward to coming back to UNCG’s Homecoming this year,” Bartenfield stated.
As a current student at the university, or what UNCG would call a “future alumni,” I am left with mixed feelings on the matter. Mostly, I am left with a familiar disappointment that I have come to expect after living through a pandemic during my college years. Since the arrival of the pandemic in March of 2020, I have accepted that we must make sacrifices to protect our community. Though, I could not help but be disappointed as a large portion of my college experience slipped away. This fall, with the availability of vaccinations and a return to campus, I was hoping that there would be a slight return to normalcy.
Even before the pandemic, UNCG’s campus life and activities left much to be desired. Compared to other NC System universities, UNCG seems to lack many things that define others’ college experiences, such as tailgates, football teams, and an overall school spirit. UNCG’s homecoming was one of the only events where I felt that our students experienced a strong sense of school spirit and fanfare. This year’s homecoming won’t be the same, and that comes with a bit of disappointment.
However, I feel that the university is acting in the best interest of their student’s safety. While I know alumni are extremely disappointed with this news, I think it is important that UNCG prioritizes the safety and happiness of the current students. Furthermore, it is clear that this decision by the university was not an easy one. Last year, UNCG, much like other universities, suffered an extreme financial loss due to the dip in enrollment and the massive shut down of campus activities and operations. This year’s homecoming was seen as a way to recover from that financial loss. The event usually guarantees a huge increase in alumni donations. UNCG’s decision to prioritize our community’s safety was clearly a selfless one, as it comes with a huge potential loss in donor funding. Ultimately, I agree with the university’s difficult decision. Though this year’s homecoming might look different, I look forward to the event.