Alumni celebrate Homecoming Week back on campus

USF alumni will feel the nostalgia of campus life this year once again after missing out on in-person homecoming events last year. ORACLE PHOTO/LEDA ALVIM

There’s no feeling like coming home, and this year, festivities will feel even sweeter for alumni planning to celebrate Homecoming Week alongside fellow Bulls for the first time since 2019.

Events ranging from dinners, panels and tailgates to gatherings with old classmates will welcome alumni back to campus. The weeklong festivities take place from Oct. 31 to Nov. 6 across all three campuses.

Bill McCausland, vice president and executive director of the USF Alumni Association, wanted to highlight the return of alumni during the week. He said homecoming will be an opportunity to celebrate the festivities together and reconnect.

“People are just so happy to see each other face to face,” said McCausland. “It’s just that instant connection of joy and energy of getting back together. We’re just so ready to be looking at something other than a computer screen.”

The Alumni Association prepared a week full of events boosting USF spirit, starting with the USF Alumni Awards Dinner on Thursday, with reception at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. Alumni awards will be given at the end of the evening.

Fellow alumni will join the celebrations during the Alumni Welcome Home Party on Friday from 5-9 p.m., featuring family-friendly games, food concessions and a watch party for the Running with the Bulls Homecoming Parade. The event will be held on the front lawn of the Gibbons Alumni Center.

An exclusive event will be held for Life Members of the Alumni Association at the same time and location. Guest tickets for adults 21 and older were sold for $30 and people 13-20 years old for $15. Children 12 and younger will gain free access to the event. Registration for the event was required and closed Oct. 29.

The parade will start at 7 p.m. on Holly Drive, head to Genshaft Drive and end on Alumni Drive in front of the Alumni Center. The Herd of Thunder band will perform at the end of the parade at the Welcome Home Party.

“It’s exciting, it’s energetic, it’s prideful and it’s just a lot of fun,” said McCausland. “People go loving [USF].”

To warm up for the game, the Alumni Association will set up the Homecoming Spirit Tent in Lot 6D at Raymond James Stadium. The event, set to start at 4:30 p.m., will give away free spirit accessories, including temporary tattoos, beads and class year stickers. Alumni can show their current alumni membership card to get commemorative beads. 

The matchup against Houston will start at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $50 for club access and $25 for sideline seating. 

Without a face-to-face alumni event in a year and a half, McCausland said he felt they would feel most excited to see one another again. 

“This year, people have this pent-up desire to go out and engage … with people and celebrate,” said McCausland. 

McCausland said he hopes Homecoming Week will stress the unity and Bull pride among alumni. 

“The only permanent constituent we have is alumni,” said McCausland. “And that’s a bond we all share, we’re related because we went to the same university. It’s important that we serve as a conduit to allow people to capitalize on the emotional connection they have to USF.”