Charles Nailen/The Hoya Hoyas enjoy themselves at last Saturday’s Homecoming Tailgate. This year’s Homecoming Committee worked to create more diverse programming in addition to revamping the annual tailgate.

Over 5,000 alumni and students attended Saturday’s Homecoming Tailgate in the McDonough parking lot, double the attendance at last year’s tailgate in Lot T. Traditionally the crux of the weekend’s events, this year’s event was moved due to construction obstructions in Lot T and the format altered as part of the Homecoming Committee’s efforts to revamp the weekend activities.

Intending to attract a more diverse range of alumni, the steering committee altered the Homecoming program from past years to include new activities that ranged beyond the traditional tailgate and football game.

Such activities included the Homecoming Golf Open, community service activities, the Hilltop Challenge 5K Race, tours of the new Southwest Quadrangle, an Iconography Tour of Georgetown’s upper campus, the Homecoming Weekend Kickoff Concert, featuring Train, Vertical Horizon and Sister Hazel and several lectures and receptions featuring student organizations and Georgetown faculty.

Homecoming Committee chairs were particularly pleased by the large number of alumni that attended this past weekend’s events, but also were impressed by the growing number of Georgetown students who participated in activities.

“I think the overall turnout for this weekend’s events was spectacular,” Homecoming Student Coordinator Patrick Hughes (COL ’05) said. “Each event seemed to attract a wide range of people. This affirmed the Committee’s original vision of a comprehensive weekend for all to enjoy.”

This year’s revamped tailgate included new regulations that aimed to make for a safer and more enjoyable experience for all ages. A new location in the McDonough Gymnasium parking lot discouraged cars and personal food and drink, which were characteristic of previous tailgates in Lot T. Instead, food and drink was provided by the university in addition to live music by the U2 cover band, The Unforgettable Fire.

“We heard very positive feedback from both students and alumni about the tailgate, with minimal lines, great food and music and a festive atmosphere that was welcoming to families, young alumni and students, as well as older generations of alumni,” atthew Lambert, associate director for class and advancement in the Office of Alumni and University Relations, said.

“I really had a great time at the tailgate,” student Greg Pope (COL’07) said. “The amount of people amazed me, and this is definitely an event that I will continue to attend in years to come.”

After the tailgate, alumni and students made their way to Harbin Field to watch the Homecoming Football Game between the Hoyas and the Stony Book Seawolves. The game ended with a 49-21 victory over Stony Brook.

In addition to the high attendance rates at the tailgate and the football game, other new events were well attended with 160 participants in the Hilltop Challenge 5K and 100 attendees at the brunch in the Wolfington Hall Jesuit Residence.

“[The Hilltop Challenge 5K] has clearly established itself as a staple of the weekend’s events that will be expanded in the years to come,” Homecoming Coordinator Michael Boyle (MSB ’00) said.

The GPB Homecoming Concert on Friday night was [also] a great success,” Hughes said. The concert was particularly special for Vertical Horizon, which includes Georgetown alums Matt Scannell (CAS ’92) and Keith Kane (CAS ’92).

The concert attracted a wide range of ages, but was particularly popular with current students, who showed extensive involvement in the weekend’s new tradition.

Lambert said he was very pleased with this year’s new format, which is part of a three-year development plan aimed at increasing the attractiveness of Homecoming Weekend.

“I would say the new tradition of Homecoming made for a more enjoyable weekend with a reduction in the risk associated with past years’ activities,” he said. “The collaboration between students, alumni, faculty and staff made this weekend the success that it was – everyone really came together to plan this weekend.”

“My hope is that the planning process will change for next year allowing alumni and students a louder voice in the final product that is produced. We want to build on this year’s successes and make the necessary changes,” Boyle said.

With this year’s homecoming at an end, the Homecoming Committee is already thinking of ways to make next year’s Homecoming even more of a success.

“Each year, we can try to get closer to [perfection]. With that in mind, we’ll take what we learned from this year’s events and apply that knowledge toward shaping a better weekend for years to come,” Hughes said.

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