Homecoming Carries On Despite Pandemic

Danny Reinan, News Editor

After weeks of relative quiet on Augsburg’s campus, students turned out in large numbers to Canvas and Cider, a time to socialize, paint, and share in sparkling cider. This was the first event of Homecoming, a tried-and-true Augsburg tradition normally celebrated with a football game that brings the community together. This year, Homecoming looks completely different than it ever has before, with social distancing, masks and participant limits at events being necessitated by the pandemic. One event, the Drag and Lip Sync Battle, has been moved online entirely. Yet, even with these limitations in place, it’s clear that Homecoming still serves as a uniting force, even if it has been adapted to fit our current moment.

The pandemic has forced Homecoming’s organizers, the Augsburg Student Activities Council (ASAC), to think creatively and alter their usual method in order to ensure that the events for this year strike a balance between being safe, accessible and fun. Maria Gonzalez Velazquez, the public relations chair for ASAC, explained that location was a major challenge to take into consideration when planning Homecoming events. “Right now we have a limit of 60,” Velazquez said of the in-person events. “Sometimes folks have to stand in line and wait to be let in.” At the Cider and Canvas event, so many students turned out that this line carried down the steps of the Quad.

Despite the challenges that came with setting up safe in-person events, the members of ASAC felt that the benefits of holding events on-campus made it worthwhile to press on through the challenges that the pandemic brought. Juan Velesaca, the treasurer of ASAC, was considering the well-being of incoming first-years when weighing the options of meeting in-person. “We want to have the freshmen feel included,” said Velesaca. “We want them to have the full Augsburg experience.” 

The challenges that came with planning a safe, enjoyable selection of Homecoming events gave way to an outpouring of excitement among ASAC staff when students turned out to the first few events in large numbers. In Velazquez’s eyes, seeing the lines of students eagerly waiting to receive paint palettes and canvases at the Cider and Canvas event made the difficulties of organizing the event worthwhile. “People still want to come,” she said. “We weren’t expecting so many to turn out. It makes us excited for what’s to come for the rest of the year.” 
At the time of publication, there will be two more events held during Homecoming week – a screening of the film Queen and Slim in the Quad on Friday, Sept. 25th, and a coronation ceremony for the Homecoming royalty in the Quad on Saturday, Sept. 26th. Students who are interested in taking part in community activities are encouraged to keep an eye on ASAC’s Auggie Life page for future events.