By Sarah Pride. Pictures by Art Cox.
Patrick Henry College
Members of the class of 2011 express school spirit during Homecoming 2010
Beginning Wednesday, Patrick Henry College students will kick off Homecoming 2011 by dividing themselves into one of four clichéd cliques -- “preps, hipsters, nerds, and jocks” – for a week of fun and unity-building, competing in a series of zany contests. Now in its sixth year, Homecoming at PHC has proven to be one of the best means of building identity by class, setting aside valuable time for alumni to reconvene on campus while providing the PHC Alumni Association a fitting setting in which to hold its annual general business meeting.
“Even as graduates return, it reminds them of the fun they had with their class while they were here,” says Sandra Corbitt, Dean of Student Life. “It is a great time to see the new student body and reconnect with former students.”
This year, both students and alumni have arranged a slate of events—some to take place separately and some to be shared. Corbitt asked junior Laura Fennig to head the student Homecoming committee, comprised of two representatives from each class. Together and through a voting process in chapel and in the PHC Herald, the committee gathered student input and selected this year’s Homecoming theme of “University Stereotypes.” Each class has its own “stereotype” to depict, as well as a class color to flaunt proudly.
“We left lots of room for possibilities,” Fennig grins. “I expect to see some outrageous costumes.”
Alumni share fellowship during Homecoming 2010
Without classes in the way, Saturday at Homecoming will stay true to its reputation as the most exciting day of activities. Students will wage a tug of war, among other festivities, in the morning, and then congregate with alumni on the soccer fields for alumni/student soccer games. Alumni will conduct a business meeting of the alumni association in the morning and share lunch together before rejoining the students.
Alumni and students pray after the men's alumni/student soccer game in 2010
“This next year I hope we’ll grow in two ways: structurally and relationally,” says Vinci concerning the Alumni Association. “Structurally, we need to make the association more efficient by making some changes to both our charter and our bylaws. And we also want to provide an already tight-knit alumni body with more opportunities to interact, in order to improve existing relationships.”
Many graduates have been planning their involvement in Homecoming for months. The PHC Alumni Association, currently maintained completely through volunteer support, has for the first time arranged a slate of alumni panels on Friday. There, students can hear from former students on topics ranging from law school applications to life after college to major-specific needs.
PHC Chancellor Dr. Michael Farris addresses the alumni during the 2010 Homecoming lunch
As another unique aspect of the 2011 Homecoming, the Alumni Association plans to insert a time capsule on campus, in a spot reserved in the brick monument at PHC’s entrance. A project that has stretched over the entire year, the time capsule’s mission is to “tell the story of PHC’s first ten years in a way that unifies our community and proclaims to future generations God’s Faithfulness and Mercy.” It will contain documents that symbolize key parties in the College’s formation and turning points in its history, as well as a collection of photos from the earliest years, yearbooks, DVDs of interesting media, and more. Over six dozen alumni have filled out an online form that asks what they are doing now and what they imagine they will be doing in 20 years, when the capsule is recovered.
Finally, after this year’s Saturday afternoon alumni/student soccer games, the student International Justice Mission club has organized an evening “Mission Abolition” benefit concert to bless the community, raise money for IJM, and spread awareness of sex trafficking issues.
View last year's Homecoming photo gallery below.