Homecoming Week is a celebration of school spirit, community and pride for Pullman, featuring festivities and competitions throughout this week.
“Homecoming gives students a way to highlight their WSU pride,” said Olivia Burdick, Student Entertainment Board director of special events. “‘Go Cougs’ is so much more than just saying ‘Go Cougs.’ It’s about community and being proud of where you’re from.”
Scheduled from Oct. 4-9, Homecoming Week competitions involve Greek life students and several dorm residents. Burdick said these teams compete in different activities throughout the week. These competitions include contests of who can decorate their residence with the most school spirit and chariot racing, where each team builds their own chariot and races to the finish line.
Teams can earn points for each competition, which are tallied up at the end of the week. She said the winners receive monetary compensation, as well as bragging rights.
Although there are many opportunities for sororities and fraternities to be involved, other students can also find themselves submerged in the fun that this week brings, Burdick said. The activities that have already taken place include the clothing drive, flag football tournament, blood drive, game night and the Mario Kart tournament.
Upcoming events include a lip sync battle on Thursday, the Cougar Pantry and Homecoming Pep Rally on Friday and the WSU vs. Oregon State University game on Saturday. She said the football game will feature the finalists for the chariot races, and the ultimate champion will be announced during halftime.
“It’s really cool to see how excited students are about Homecoming,” Burdick said. “It brings me hope and joy for the future to see how Homecoming kind of grows in the next few years.”
The pep rally will be held at Flag Lane, said Carrie Neppel, WSU Alumni Association assistant director. There will be appearances from the Spirit Squad, WSU varsity teams and alumni speakers. WSU Athletics Director Pat Chun and WSU President Kirk Schulz will be there as well to discuss updates within the WSU community and upcoming sporting events.
“[The Pep Rally] is a reminder of why WSU is so special and why people get so excited to come back and be a part of this atmosphere,” Neppel said. “It’s the proof of why we work so hard to put all this together.”
Following the WSU game on Saturday, the Alumni Association will run the Back Home Homecoming Celebration, she said. In years past, the reception took place in the Lewis Alumni Centre and was invitation-only for lifetime and platinum lifetime alumni members.
This year, the event is open to everyone on campus and held at the Hollingbery Fieldhouse. It will feature drinks, appetizers and a chance to reconnect with others. Especially after the impact COVID-19 had on the past year, Neppel said the association wanted to have a fun and festive way to celebrate being on campus.
“We kind of knew people would be hungry for that Cougar connection, especially at Homecoming, because it would be people’s first time back on campus,” Neppel said. “I could see it becoming a tradition moving forward as well.”
This year’s Homecoming slogan is “Dam the Beavs,” as WSU hopes to win against Oregon State. After a home win, the Student Alumni Ambassadors ring the Victory Bell at the Lewis Alumni Centre. She said any fan is also welcome to take a turn ringing the bell to celebrate a WSU victory.
Burdick and Neppel, as well as their teams, have worked since the summer to organize and facilitate Homecoming Week. They said they are excited to see what comes of their efforts.
Information about all upcoming Homecoming events can be found on the Student Entertainment Board and Alumni Association websites.