Thursday, October 8, 2009

Homecoming Revisited

I am a longtime fan of homecoming and at Hofstra we do it especially well. This year’s theme is “myths and legends” and I am excited by the possibilities inherent in such a theme.  I also take enormous pride at the recognition of alumni achievement, I enjoy seeing all the floats at the Homecoming Parade, I always welcome watching Hofstra athletics, and I like the fact that various groups such as the “young alumni” have a set time to socialize.  But the reality is that Homecoming attracts a tiny minority of our over 100,000 alums, and even a tiny minority of local graduates. 

Is this a problem?  Does it show a lack of school spirit or a lack of interest in what is happening at Hofstra?  I think not.  I think the reality is that the world has changed.  For many of my early years at Hofstra, we updated graduates with a periodic alumni magazine and periodic events such as homecoming.  Homecoming was one important vehicle to see firsthand what was happening on campus.  In addition, former students would call periodically and just as periodically, faculty would receive letters from these alums.  But today, we get updated and stay connected much more effectively, much more consistently, and much more comprehensively through the use of the Hofstra website, through facebook, through various email list serves.  And our graduates connect to us much more frequently through email, texting, Facebook, Linked-In etc.

The concern with this extensive use of technology  is, of course, that it doesn’t physically bring the person to campus ( even if it brings the campus to the person).  But, here too, the world has changed in ways greater than just utilization of technology.  If you look at the events on the Hofstra campus, and the publicity for those events, you will see that there are a multitude of events open to alumni and the public which provide constant persuasive and more targeted reasons for a graduate to return to campus.  And having been on campus for forty years and knowing lots of graduates, I know firsthand that I regularly see alumni at these events.  Our program for Educate ’08  year-long series of speakers which accompanied our hosting the third presidential debate on our campus; our Define ’09 series of speakers; the productions of our Drama and Dance Department; the activities of the Hofstra Cultural Center, Hofstra Athletics, the Hofstra Museum, our Kalikow Center for Presidential Studies;  our Suburban Studies Center; the Center for Civic Engagement, etc., all serve to attract alums.  We are an ever more inviting place for our graduate to return to.

Is Homecoming going away?  The reality is for a first rate university there are more and more reasons and ways, both virtual as well as on-campus, for you to continually stay in touch with the University starting the day you graduate.  Homecoming is now an every day event.

1 comment:

  1. It seems we've recorded a record-breaking number of Hofstra alumni at this year's Homecoming festivities. Thank you to all who attended!

    Next year's Homecoming Weekend will be September 23-26, as we kick off Hofstra's year-long 75th Anniversary Celebration and the celebration of Annual Reunions for alumni from class years ending in 00 and 05. I hope those who attended this year will return next year - with even more of your fellow alumni!

    Ilene Schuss '80, '04
    Chair, Homecoming 2009