The carnival was held Monday on Dietler Commons. photo by Tommy Reid

Homecoming events a welcome return as pandemic wanes

After last year’s events were stifled by COVID-19, TU enjoyed the usual festivities throughout Homecoming week.

Homecoming 2021 is now complete, and it was a fantastic week celebrating the reunion of past classes with current students. This year, the theme that the Alumni Association chose for homecoming was “Let the Hurricane Roar.” This theme comes from one of the lines in the TU fight song. The goal of this theme was to serve as a unifying rallying cry for the TU community to come back strong and united together following a year of difficult times and separation during the pandemic.

The detailed planning process that involved many different groups began in June. From the Alumni Association and Campus Security to vendors across Tulsa and TU students and faculty, many different groups of people came together to make homecoming this year a success. The Homecoming Signature Team comprised a group of students that began planning all the events that happened last week. This team included Caiton Wilmoth, executive director; Celeste Valdez, Josie Cooley, Ashley Marin Martinez and Katie Drawdy. One thing that was key in the planning process was estimating the number of people that would attend the events. With last year’s numbers being low due to some of the activities being virtual, the question remained for this year how the number of students involved would be at the events. The turnout this year far exceeded expectations with nightly attendance ranging between 400 and 700 students.

The events this year consisted of a carnival on Monday night, street painting and an art fair on Tuesday night, coffee and comedy on Wednesday night, a bonfire build on Thursday afternoon, a karaoke night on Thursday evening and the bonfire on Friday night.

Caiton Wilmoth, Homecoming Event Lead, thought the events this year went very well considering the unknowns leading into this time. “I think everyone has enjoyed the food, and the events have provided a chill outdoor space for students to spend time together,” Wilmoth said about the festivities. “After social limitations the past year and a half, it was important for us to not overwhelm people, but to also give them something new and exciting.”

Overall, the events went well with many people enjoying each event. Speaking about the carnival on Monday evening, Wilmoth remarked, “Honestly, the best experience for me was watching everyone arrive at the first event Monday evening. People were excited to be there, and we had a great turnout… Once we got the Kickoff Carnival going, I felt better about the rest of the week ahead.”

Looking back on the week, Wilmoth said that “I just hope that everyone has enjoyed their Homecoming experiences this week. We tried really hard to give seniors a great last year in person, and we knew that sophomores and freshmen had never experienced a true, full-scale TU Homecoming… It’s been an honor getting to host such a great tradition, and I’m so thankful for everyone that made it possible.”

Post Author: Tommy Reid