CLAIRE SOISSON FOR THE HOYA. Students and alumni packed the stands for the Homecoming football game only to see the Hoyas suffer a disappointing loss against Princeton.
CLAIRE SOISSON FOR THE HOYA.
Students and alumni packed the stands for the Homecoming football game only to see the Hoyas suffer a disappointing loss against Princeton.

Approximately 4,000 alumni returned to the Hilltop for Homecoming Weekend this year, an increase in participation from past years.

“I think this [increase] is due to the fact that we are continuing to look for new opportunities to expand our programming to be able to engage more students and alumni,” Director of Class Programs and Reunion Campaigns Vanessa Otarola (NHS ’08) said.

Last year, 6,500 students and alumni participated in Homecoming. Otarola said that they were still working to calculate the total number of participants this year, including the student tally.

In addition to traditional activities like the football game and tailgate, student organizations also created new events. The Georgetown University Running Club reintroduced the Saturday morning Homecoming 5k run, and the Traditions Day committee added an all-class movie night on Thursday.

“This year, the focus was on celebrating the rich history of Georgetown and of our student organizations,” Otarola said.

Planning for Homecoming is a yearlong process, which starts when the Office of Advancement works with the athletics department to select the weekend during which the homecoming football game will take place.

That planning culminated in this weekend’s events, which provided a link between alumni and current students.

“This is the first time I’ve come back for Homecoming, and part of the reason I’m here is because my son is here,” Chris Donovan (SFS ’78) said. “It’s awesome to be back on campus. We took my son and seven of his friends out for dinner. It was nice to meet his peers and friends.”

Sharon Day (MED ’88) agreed.

“We come back to Homecoming every so often,” Day said. “We’re here actually today because my youngest son is going to go on the tour because he’s interested in coming to Georgetown.”

For many alumni, campus looks markedly different.

“Buildings have changed, as there are all these new buildings everywhere you look, but the atmosphere stays the same,” Day said.

However, alumni recalled their old haunts from their days at Georgetown.

“I look forward to going to Rhino, going to our old stomping ground,” Maggie Koch (COL ’07) said. “We walked to Burleith, which is where we used to live, and down on M Street, The Tombs and the bookstore.”

For current students as well, the weekend served as a memorable experience.

“As a freshman, I’ve never experienced Homecoming before, so it was really great to just experience it for the first time,” Emma Dee Spikol (COL ’17) said. “There was a lot of energy on campus, and there were so many alumni walking around with their kids, and it was obvious that they were really excited to be returning.”

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