Homecoming planners eager to attract big crowds for first week-long celebration since pandemic lockdown


Photo by PNW

Organizers want to make Homecoming 2023 extra special.

“Homecoming comes once a year,” said Katie Holderby, director of Alumni Engagement. “Last year, the Mane Event was canceled due to the weather …. The previous year, it was different because of COVID. 

“This is the first year since 2020 that is a full homecoming week,” she said.

To increase engagement, planners have compressed activities normally held over a month into a single week. They hope for a huge turnout. 

“It’s challenging sometimes to engage students for a long period of time,” said Holderby. “The week is jam-packed … We are hoping to have more than 400 students and 300 alumni, faculty and staff at the Mane Event.”

Planners say student and alumni involvement is important for the PNW community.

“It is important to engage alumni as well as students, faculty and staff during campus activities,” Holderby said. “Engagement allows for students to have a feeling of belonging and pride in their university.

“It also allows for alumni to continue to feel a sense of pride and responsibility to engage with students,” she said. “Homecoming provides these opportunities as well as building relationships.”

Activities got underway last week, when student volunteers began decorating Westville and Hammond campus buildings and painting windows in PNW Pride themes. They will culminate on Friday with the Student Government Association-sponsored Dance Party.

“Our goal this week [was] to acclimate the space,” said Salvador Cordova, assistant director for Student Life. “Make it feel … there are things happening there and stuff is going on around the entire space, leading up to the homecoming dance.” 

This year, the culminating events are the Mane Event and Homecoming Dance Party.

“The must-see event is the Mane Event and game on Feb. 2,” said Holderby.

The PNW men’s and women’s basketball teams play Lake Superior State Lakers on Thursday, starting at 4:30 p.m. at the Hammond Fitness and Recreation Center Students will be admitted for free with PNW ID. 

“Each student will be given a tee-shirt and a slice of pizza for free,” said Cordova. 

The beach-themed Dance Party will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in SULB’s Alumni Hall in Hammond. 

“Homecoming Dance brings the PNW community together by providing a festive atmosphere for students to celebrate their school pride and take a break from class,” said Cordova. “I hope the PNW student body attends and has a blast.”

All students are allowed to bring a guest. The event will feature a DJ from 219 Productions, which has been featured at several university functions. 

There will also be a 360 photo booth. 

“We are hoping that students come in with cruise and beach clothing,” said Cordova. “Although, there is no dress code and students can come in whatever they want to wear.”