Erskine’s Homecoming, the last of my undergraduate career, was 26 October. I do not think that finality sank in until just now, as I write this. Does anyone know where the homecoming tradition came from? I was on Skype with Aaron, my best friend from St Andrews, the morning of homecoming and in the process of telling him about the day’s events, he asked me what homecoming is.
How do you describe such an American tradition to one who has never experienced it? Apparently I did a sufficient job, but he still laughed at our odd ways here on the other side of the Pond. That was an interesting cultural realisation for me: something which I have always sort of innately understood is an alien concept to most of the world. But I digress.
This year, Erskine combined Homecoming with our Fall Fest–organised and sponsored by the Erskine Entertainment Board–and parent’s day. Between the families, friends, students, faculty, and alumni present, it was the busiest I have ever seen the campus. Breaking character for a day, this quiet little academic village was buzzing from dawn well past dusk. Also a big deal this year: 2014 marks the 175th anniversary of Erskine College, in case you didn’t know. On the 24th, we were lucky enough to get to hear about life as a member of the centennial class from Mrs. Dot Simpson Wise, Erskine class of 1939, in a special convocation ceremony. After the interview, Erskine gave us free 175th anniversary t-shirts, which you will see in a few of the photos below. Anyone who has been to college understands the excitement of a free t-shirt. I think I could go a month wearing only Erskine shirts. This is not a complaint.
Traditionally, Erskine holds an event called Fleet-o-Rama the night before. This involves music, food (often including fire for roasting marshmallows! s’mores, anyone?), float decorating, and other activities. Despite the chilly weather, it was a fantastic time.
The day itself featured the homecoming parade, an auction, performances by the Choraleers and Gospel Choir, an athletic banquet, exhibition games by various athletic teams, the soccer games and homecoming court, and the concert that evening. If you are anything like me, you get tired just reading that sentence. I think we all slept well that night! The concert featured a band called Air Dubai, preceded by Shane Sniteman, the talented son of one of our professors.
I love seeing the school spirit and pride that everyone shows on days like this. As stressed out as we may get sometimes, and despite the frustrations that inevitably arise sometimes being in such a small community, I really do love this place and the people here. I cannot think of another college that supports every student the way Erskine does. Few outside of Due West know what in the world a “Flying Fleet” is, yet we are fiercely proud of it.
I took very few photos over the weekend, but my talented fellow student, Katie Putnam, took many for the school. I share some of them below. There are many more on the Erskine Flickr page. Enjoy!