Never far from home
Highlights from Homecoming 2013
Sarah Beatty - October 15, 2013
With the installation of a new Dal president, Homecoming weekend ushered in something new while celebrating long-standing relationships with the university. Between back-to-class lectures, luncheons, faculty pub nights, campus tours, and dinners, Dalhousie alumni were rediscovering their alma mater and reconnecting with campus life.
Though for many, Dalhousie has never really ceased to be home.
Many of the attending alumni were local, living in Halifax or nearby. Rosalee Lidon returned for her 25-year reunion and has become a regular on campus. “I never really left the campus, and now that they have Chickenburger, I’m hooked,” she laughs. “I’m always here.”
Lidon is not alone. Glancing around the first Black & Gold Homecoming Social at the Grad House, Randy Barkhouse says with a smile, “I know most of the people here, and the ones I don’t, I’m getting to know.” As a member of both the Black & Gold Club and the Association of Dalhousie Pensioners and Retirees, Barkhouse remains active in Dalhousie campus and alumni life.
Bridging the gap
The goal of Homecoming is to connect alumni not just with their Dal history, but with the Dal of today.
“As Homecoming is still quite new to Dalhousie, this is all about trying to engage the students while also encouraging alumni to re-discover Homecoming,” says Monica Mutale, Dal alumni relations officer. “But the enthusiasm is definitely there, we’re working towards having them both more involved in campus.”
A sense of shared community between students, faculty and alumni culminates at the final events of Homecoming. At the Lobster Tailgate, students and alumni sit side by side, cracking open their lobsters while a student band (aptly named “Tiger Patrol”) plays softly in the background. Alumni volunteers take tickets, boil lobsters and distribute the lobster bibs and butter, while students and faculty eat, mix and mingle.
“It’s great to see the room full,” says Carole Cooley, a Dalhousie alumna collecting tickets at the door. “It’s a great opportunity for students and alumni to meet.”
At the football game, in a sea of black and gold, students and alumni squish together cheering loudly in the stands. Alumna Jill Tasker was a varsity basketball player as a student and often comes back to watch the varsity games.
“I love Dal so much, so it’s always really nice to see the students out and wearing their black and gold,” says Tasker. “It’s important to recognize what athletes give to an university, it’s how the student population will respond to it more.”
Encouraging student and alumni engagement
Tasker is also involved in the Black & Gold Association and attends annually the Women in Leadership Spotlight Dinner.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet the athletes and a chance for them to network with us too,” she says. “I love it when I go to the dinner and someone is interested in my profession. I love to talk to them and encourage them or even just offer some advice on their next moves.”
Encouraging more networking events like the Women in Leadership Spotlight Dinner is important for Tasker. “Alumni can be a wealth of knowledge for the students - they really should take the opportunity to come pick our brains,” she says.
Recent graduate Nicholas Bares-Johnson plans to do just that.
“All these special gatherings happen for a reason. I’m really hoping to further my path now and meeting people through this would be great,” he says. “I’ll never let this university go.”
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