Homecoming week begins


The University of Iowa has incorporated several new events into Homecoming Week to help students get more involved and give back to the community.

“We are very passionate about giving back to the community,” Elizabeth Hewitt, the director of sales and marketing for the 2014 Homecoming Council, wrote in an email. “A portion of almost everything we do, including button and T-shirt sales, go to Habitat for Humanity. We want students and community members to be just as excited as we are about service.”

Officials have encouraged students to give back to the community by incorporating a Volunteer Day, which took place on Oct. 4. Groups were able to sign up and help local organizations around Iowa City.

Fifth-year UI student Parker Koch said he appreciates the efforts the university has taken to give back to the community and believes it has improved its volunteer opportunities since last year.

“I love that they’re incorporating service into the Homecoming stuff,” he said. “[It’s] an initiative to grow in a positive direction.”

Another event — the Hawkeye Feed — will take place today from noon to 2 p.m. in Hubbard Park.

There is a lot of work that goes into each individual event, and each event has its own budget, she said.

In addition to new events at this year’s Homecoming, more traditional events are still going strong.

UI sophomore Matt Buckley said he wants to give blood more, and he sees the Blood Drive during Homecoming week as the perfect opportunity to give blood. He also plans on giving blood next year.

“[Homecoming is] not just about having fun but giving back to Iowa City,” he said. “It makes the competition worth something. It’s not just about yourself.”

Another initiative to keep a larger population of students involved is also being implemented.

The Virtual Homecoming will allow international and domestic alumni who aren’t able to be there to experience Iowa’s Homecoming in person to be able to experience it online.

The International Program, the Office of Strategic Communication, and the Alumni Association are working to ensure that Virtual Homecoming is a success.

“International alumni might not be able to be here in person, but they can take part in the excitement of Homecoming by sending in a memory or two of their time at the UI, by sharing photos from then and now, and by giving us an update on where their lives have taken them,” Joan Kjaer, the strategic communications director for International Programs, wrote in an email.

Responses will then be posted on the International Programs website during the International Education Week in November in order for students to continue staying connected to the UI.

Kjaer said she has high hopes that the Virtual Homecoming will become a yearly tradition.

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