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Homecoming brings a cross-country road trip of ‘Swoop’s Streets’

Emory will celebrate Homecoming Oct. 16-24 with a full schedule of on-campus festivities. The week also includes a 2O36 kickoff event on Friday, Oct. 22, and the return of the Homecoming parade and festival on Saturday, Oct. 23.

Homecoming 2021 is just around the corner, with plenty of activities planned for the Emory community. Student festivities begin Saturday, Oct. 16, and events for students, families and alumni continue through Homecoming and Reunion Weekend, Oct. 21-23. 

On Friday, Oct. 22, students, faculty and staff are invited to help kick off 2O36, Emory's campaign focused on investing in people for the benefit of people. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., stop by the Quad to explore interactive domes, enjoy free food, score giveaways and more. No registration required; learn more about the 2O36 event.

The fun for all continues on Saturday with the Homecoming Festival and Concert on the Quad from 12:30-5:30 p.m., sponsored by the Emory Alumni Association. The afternoon will include a food truck park, family-friendly activities, beer garden and interactive booths highlighting groups from across campus — all backed by smooth ‘70s and ‘80s rock from Yacht Rock Schooner. 

Headlining the entertainment will be the Grammy-nominated act Black Pumas, described as “Wu-Tang Clan meets James Brown.” They’ll be joined by special guest Lennon Stella who has a stellar synth-pop sound.

Swoop across country in student events 

The Student Programming Council (SPC), which plans student Homecoming activities, begins the week with Swoop’s Ball on Saturday, Oct. 16. The performer is still a secret, but students are sure to have a night of fun music on McDonough Field; doors open at 6 p.m.

Homecoming 2021 then moves into full swing with a “Swoop’s Streets” theme — a celebration of famous roads in America that students will experience through activities and foods iconic to each area. All events will be held in person, which makes the week particularly exciting to Homecoming chairs Sona Davis and Colin Song.

“This is truly a ‘homecoming’ for so many students,” says Song, a sophomore chemistry and music major from Glenview, Illinois. “After a year of almost fully virtual activity, students should get excited to finally immerse themselves in an in-person Homecoming experience. We want to foster fun and friendships and hope this will really allow students to feel like they belong here at Emory.”

The “road trip” will begin at Times Square on Monday, Oct. 18, with fire breathers and other live performers, a caricature artist, photo booth and street food. Tuesday afternoon brings Bourbon Street, complete with tarot card readers, stilt walkers and a magician. Creole food, Mardi Gras beads and custom hurricane glasses will complete the experience.

Wednesday takes students west to Santa Monica Pier for amusement park games, carnival prizes, Swoop beach towels and food on sticks. Later that evening, Wonderful Wednesday After Dark shifts to the Las Vegas Strip with multiple tables of casino-inspired card games — and Swoop playing cards and cups.

On Thursday, hay rides around campus, barbecue and cowboy hats signal time on the Honky Tonk Highway. Then at 7 p.m. Thursday, the stage on McDonough Field will be hopping with the annual HoCo Fest talent show. Students can cheer on their friends, try their luck with audience music trivia and enjoy cake pops and mocktails.

The adventure returns to Atlanta on Friday for Peachtree Street day. Students are invited to the 2O36 event on the Quad, then can cheer on the women’s soccer team at 4 p.m. against Roanoke College. Friday night ends with a comedy show in the Emory Student Center at 6 p.m.

Student-focused events end on Saturday with the return of the Homecoming parade at 2 p.m.

“This Homecoming will undoubtedly hold a lot of energy and excitement, considering it’s the first in-person Homecoming in two years,” says Davis, a sophomore from Nashville, Tennessee, majoring in anthropology and human biology and minoring in ethics. “There are a lot of activities for students to ingrain themselves in so we hope they take advantage and get involved.”

“The majority of the weeklong activities have been planned by students and will be run by students,” Song adds. “SPC members have been working so hard to create an amazing week and we hope the Emory student body will enjoy it.”

Find some family-friendly fun 

As in years past, Homecoming Week also coincides with Family Weekend, which means many activities on Friday, Saturday and Sunday are planned with parents and siblings in mind. Oxford College is also celebrating Family Weekend.

Visit the Carlos Museum to experience “Each/Other” — the first exhibition to feature together the work of two leading Indigenous contemporary artists whose processes focus on collaborative artmaking — and “Resonance: Recent Acquisitions in Photography.” Stroll around campus on a tour or sign up to attend a town hall with Emory President Gregory L. Fenves and university leaders.

For some Halloween-related fun, join a virtual Bram Stoker Trivia Night Friday at 6 p.m. in celebration of the Rose Library’s acquisition of the world’s most comprehensive collection of Bram Stoker materials. Play in teams or individually, or just come to watch and learn fun facts about Dracula and related material.

Other family friendly events on Saturday, Oct. 23, include the Homecoming and Family Weekend 5K Run through Lullwater Park at 8:30 a.m.; the Homecoming Festival on the Quad at 12 p.m.; and the Homecoming parade at 2 p.m.

Visit the Parent and Family Programs website for more information about Family Weekend or view the full Family Weekend schedule.

Reconnect at reunions

No Homecoming is complete without alumni reunions, and this year is no exception, with multiple gatherings for alums scheduled for Friday, Oct. 22, and Saturday, Oct. 23. 

Here’s a sampling of what to expect; view the full schedule and register for events online. 

Schedule time for music or worship

Homecoming Weekend will include two musical performances by student groups. The Emory University Symphony Orchestra — featuring Laura Ardan, principal clarinet of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra as guest soloist — will perform Saturday at 8 p.m., followed by the Emory Wind Ensemble Sunday at 4 p.m. Both concerts will be in the Schwartz Center. Admission is free, but registration is required.

A worship service will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday in Cannon Chapel, with the message delivered by the Rev. Tolton Pace, 00C 02MPH, who serves as the youth pastor of Impact Church.

Additional activities are planned throughout the weekend. Register and view the full schedules for Homecoming Weekend and Family Weekend online.

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