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The reason behind homecoming celebrations

Emily Hepner
Features Writer

The weekend of Oct. 26 is the most spirited one of the semester for many Millersville students. All this week around Millersville’s campus, there has been a multitude of activities available to students. Humans vs. Zombies, a pep rally, a parade, a game of capture-the-flag—there’s been so much to do this week to make students excited for the football game against Lock Haven.

While the tradition of Homecoming is a century old here at Millersville, it has had some modern activities added to the festivities. President John Anderson leads the parade on his infamous bicycle.
While the tradition of Homecoming is a century old here at Millersville, it has had some modern activities added to the festivities. President John Anderson leads the parade on his infamous bicycle.

But the real purpose of any school’s Homecoming is the return of former students to their old stomping grounds, where they reminisce about their experiences all around their former campus and town. This tradition got its start back in the 1870s with the deep rivalry between Harvard and Yale when the two schools faced off between each other in what is known as “The Game.” The Harvard Crimson says that the first game between the two Ivy league schools occurred on Nov. 13, 1875. Tickets cost a modest 50 cents, whereas now ticket prices are as high as $30. This first game brought in a crowd of 2,500 fans. Ever since then it has been a die-hard tradition for Harvard and Yale alumni, and fans, to watch the rivalry take form in the sport of football. However, the Homecoming celebrations that are still active today stem from Baylor and Illinois University, respectively.
In the year 1910 two Illinois seniors decided to plot an event that would celebrate their school’s rivalry with Chicago University, says Active Sports. Their idea for the event would be one to lift up school spirit so their school’s football team could win the game. Not only did the student body take quickly to this idea but faculty and local business owners did as well, much like in Millersville’s annual parade which is a mix of student organizations, local businesses and other interesting groups found in Pennsylvania and even Maryland. That year a crowd of 12,000 alumni and current students filled the stadium and Illinois won their game 3-0.
Baylor University’s Homecoming started back in 1909, when the university wanted to invite alumni to “renew former associations and friendships” and to refuel their Baylor spirit. While their title was different, originally called “Good Will Week,” the events offered were similar to the ones happening at Millersville this past week, with speeches, parades, reunions, and of course, the football game.
So while the tradition of Homecoming is a century old, here at Millersville it has certainly had some modern activities added to it. On Wednesday students had the chance to get involved with a “Marauder Hunt,” very similar to a treasure hunt in the sense that there were different objectives to achieve. The purpose of Marauder Hunt is to have your picture taken with different backgrounds or people and to then upload the pictures to Instagram.
If you have lots of Marauder spirit to let out, this was the weekend to paint your face, buy a Hoo-Rag and release your inner Marauder, argh!

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