Eastern Michigan University students and alumni are prepared to mark a milestone this week: The 100th homecoming celebration on campus.
The first was held in the 1920s, according to documents in the university archives. Then, it was called Gala Day, and included a number of men’s sports games, culminating in the football game. The event also included a parade with floats, a bonfire and a dance. By 1922, it had become an annual event.
The title homecoming showed up about 1923, according to the archives. The first homecoming king and queen were elected in 1948. Over the years, university alumni began scheduling class reunions around the event.
This year, homecoming event organizers set up a number of activities for students and alumni starting Monday, Oct. 4 and running through to the football game Saturday, Oct.9, against Miami University at Rynearson Stadium. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. Details are outlined on the homecoming page at emich.edu.
The Street & Spirit Team will be hosting events at the Student Center, and coordinating what they’ calling Decades Week, with a different decade as a them each day of the week. Students are encouraged to suit up with Eagles spirit gear and homecoming related attire representing the themes.
Other events include:
EAGLES MARCH: The Eastern Michigan Marching Band, Swoop, and the Eagle cheer and dance teams will be marching across campus starting at 11:30 a.m. at the Student Center.
ICE CREAM SOCIAL: Say hello to fellow students over a scoop of ice cream from noon to 1 p.m. at the Student Center. The ice cream is courtesy of the university President’s Office.
BUILD AN EAGLE: During the ice cream social, students can build a stuffed eagle at the Student Center patio.
PASSING THE TORCH: Black alumni will be on campus to connect with current students, and offer words of encouragement during a special event from 7-9 p.m. at the Student Center, Rooms 310 A&B
BACK TO THE STREETS: This is the Black Homecoming Cookout, and will feature 150 free meals showcasing Bigg Bites and Motor City Treats. In addition to the food, the event features games, dancing and music by DJ Lixxer. The cookout is from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Student Center patio.
PAINT AND POUR: From 4 to 5:30 p.m., students can create their own Eastern-themed work of art. Spaces are limited, so those interested are encouraged to sign up ahead of time. Virtual options are available too.
GOOD NIGHT EMU: This is a virtual event on the Eastern Michigan University Alumni Facebook Page. Alumni and children’s book authors Brynne Barnes, Ryan Griffin, Jordan Scavone and Shanda Trent will dread bedtime stories to children, from 7 to 7:45 p.m.
TRAP KARAOKE: Head over to the amphitheater from 7 to 10 p.m. to sing/rap the songs of your favorite events.
DRIVE-IN MOVIE: Pull into the parking lot at the Convocation Center for a showing of the latest installment in the Fast and Furious franchise: F9. The show starts at 7:15 p.m., and runs until 10 p.m.
MOVIE PREMIERE NIGHT: This drive-in event is designed for the whole family. Pixar’s “Soul” is the featured flick, showing from 7 to 10 p.m. in the Normal Street lot.
YARD SHOW: From 8 to 10 p.m. some of the finest Black Greek organizations at Eastern will be steppin’ and strolling at the Amphitheatre.
CAMPUS TOURS: Whether in-person or virtual, staff at the university’s admissions office will be providing Welcome HomE Tours from 1 to 3 p.m. Register on the homecoming page at emich.edu.
GAME NIGHT WITH GENG & ESPORTS: This virtual event will be on Discord, with alumni, students, faculty and staff playing video games together and each other. The fun runs from 6 to 8 p.m. More information at EMU Esports Discord.
HOMECOMING CHORAL CONCERT: The university Choral Department presents choral music and ensembles for a night of homecoming entertainment at Pease Auditorium, from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
GREEN & WHITE BALL: The annual Homecoming Dance is from 8 to 11 p.m. at the Lake House. There will be three DJs and participants will be given headsets allowing them to choose among the three channels.
EMUBA EVENING PARTY: The EMU Black Alumni Chapter is hosting an evening of entertainment from 9 to 11 p.m. at the Ann Arbor Regent Conference Center, 2455 Carpenter Road. Admission is $15. Visit the EMU Black Alumni webpage for details.
ALUMNI MARCHING BAND: The Eastern Michigan University Marching Band has invited alumni band members to join them on the field for pregame and halftime performances. Other festivities are planned as well. Alumni should check the EMU Marching Band website for details; tickets are required.
ROTARY PANCAKE BREAKFAST: It’s all you can eat at the Ypsilanti Rotary Club Pancake Breakfast, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Rynearson Stadium. The cost is $10; all proceeds go toward the civic club’s scholarship program and area schools.
GAME DAY MIDWAY: Alumni, students and other fans are encouraged to stop by the front lawn at Rynearson Stadium before the game Saturday. From 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. there will be a 360 photo booth, caricature drawings, balloon twisting and yard games.
ALL SPORTS REUNION: Sponsored by GameAbove, the reunion is open to all former student athletes from Eastern, and for an entry fee of $30, includes a field level hospitality tent, game entry and more. Details can be found on the homecoming page at emich.edu.