Ladies and gentlemen, the time has come for the 2021 Homecoming CELEBRATION!  As the leaves start to change color, the WSU campus is buzzing with excitement for the return of our home sweet homecoming.     

And I couldn’t be more ecstatic for it.  

Due to COVID-19, last year we didn’t have the opportunity to have a traditional homecoming and instead had spirit week. It was my first year as spirit week co-chair. To say the least, it was difficult planning COVID safe events and getting the student body excited. Nevertheless, we still had a rockin’ good time!  

After a challenging year, it only made me more thrilled for this year’s homecoming. 

This summer, I returned as the co-spirit week chair and got to work alongside some truly amazing committee members as we brainstormed events and planned for what the long anticipated spirit week would look like. While beginning to organize some fun events, we also had fun ourselves! It’s been a great experience getting to know each other while listening to stories and creating memories together.   

The theme for Homecoming this year is, “Home Sweet Home.” Our committee chose this theme because we wanted to welcome the WSU community back home after a long and quiet year. 

To incorporate a “home-y” feel to the celebration, we added a cooking segment with a chef and two comedians that will surely whip up some great memories.  

Events we’re also looking forward to this year are the lip sync battle, obstacle course, pep fest, Game Day Experience and of course, the homecoming parade!  

With a bit more leeway in restrictions, while still being mindful of the pandemic, I was able to lead the planning of two events including the Coffee Bar & Bars event and the Sip and Paint event.  

At our Coffee Bar & Bars pre-week event, which helped us ramp up some excitement for our Homecoming week, people enjoyed free coffee from Mugby Junction and yummy brownies and bars from HyVee. Students also got to show off their artistic abilities by decorating coffee mugs that they could later bring home. With more than 120 participants and every coffee mug gone, the event went amazingly well to say the least.  

So far, it’s been a blast seeing everyone laughing, smiling, complimenting each other, expressing themselves, and hanging out together while supporting the effort the committee put forth. It’s exciting to know we’re only at the beginning of the celebration and there’s so much more fun to be had! 

As a committee, we couldn’t have done it without our advisor, Tracy Rahim, who is a complete gem and has spent hours brainstorming, giving us advice and sharing knowledge. Thank you, Tracy, for everything!   

With this being my last opportunity to be on the committee before graduating this Spring semester, I would like to highly encourage WSU students, who want to step outside their comfort zone and see the rewards of planning events for the student body, to apply. There’s no better feeling than planning successful activities that bring in smiling faces and joy to students.  

Joining the homecoming committee was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve gotten the experience of planning bigger scale events, of stepping outside my comfort zone, and of connecting with community members in Winona. I’ve gained leadership skills, confidence, networking skills, and the knowledge to take an idea from start to finish.

Most of all, I’ve gotten to see how hard work and enthusiasm can impact a community in a truly positive way.

This week of Homecoming events just goes to prove that no matter if you’re on campus or out in the community, you are always at home at WSU. 

Written by: Roberta Kennedy