Homecoming weekend is a time for students, alumni, faculty and parents to get together and celebrate Northwestern’s history. Most students associate homecoming with a big football game and homecoming dance, but many more activities are going on during this year’s homecoming.
Mark Bloemendaal, Director of Alumni and Parent Relations, is the main coordinator for the homecoming activities, better known as Raider Days.
“These days are set up to try and include two main groups,both the alumni and parents and family of current students,” Bloemendaal said.
Bloemendaal tries to make sure there is a full schedule of events during each year’s Raider Days to welcome alumni and families back to campus and showcase some of the college’s new changes.
“There has to be enough of a routine so that people know what to expect, but just different enough to keep people interested,” Bloemendaal said.
Although Raider Days is geared toward alumni and parents, it can be an entertaining time for current students as well.
“We definitely want students to feel like a part of it,” Bloemendaal said.
Students are welcome to attend all of the events, such as the football game, the student concert and the Morning on the Green. Students are encouraged to participate and show parents and alumni what life on campus looks like.
Raider Days commences on Friday morning when NW alum Dale Landegent (’82) speaks in chapel. Classes are still scheduled for Friday, but there are some events later on in the day to look forward to.
At 7 p.m. a reunion will be held for the NW Theatre Department at Old Factory. This will be a time to reconnect with old friends over coffee drinks.
Starting at 8 p.m. is the annual Hospers (previously West Hall) Coffee House. This is another chance to drink coffee, gather in fellowship with other students and see some live performances by fellow students.
The festivities really kick off on Saturday morning. The 21st Annual Red Raider Road Race starts at 8:30 a.m. Everyone is invited to participate and may register to run for $20 or walk for $10. Prizes will be awarded, and everyone who runs receives a road race shirt.
The next main event is Morning on the Green. It is an opportunity for people of all ages to enjoy a family-friendly carnival. At 10 a.m., alumni and parents have a chance to mingle and have coffee with some of NW’s current and retired faculty and staff.
For fans of the NW soccer program, the annual alumni games are a must. The women’s JV team will face a team of alumni at 10 a.m. The men’s JV team will be playing a team of alumni players at 11:30 a.m. This game will give fans a chance to see both the current head men’s coach Dan Swier and the head women’s coach Ben Karnish in action.
There are a variety of options for lunch on Saturday. At 11 a.m. there will be an Athletic Recognition Luncheon where this year’s Hall of Fame inductees and other athletes and coaches will be honored. At the same time there will be a 50th Reunion for the Class of 1964, located at Nederlander’s Grill in Orange City.
Those who are not friends or family of an honored athlete or a member of the Class of ‘64 can attend the tailgate picnic, which is open to the public. Students will be able to swipe their regular ID card and eat on the green.
After the tailgate, the Red Raider football team will face off against Dordt. Parents can attend the game free of charge with their student by entering at the pass gate at the southwest corner of the stadium.
Once students have cheered on the football team, the men’s soccer team will play matches against Hastings. This is a very crucial game for the men. With only two conference games left, the Raiders are tied for 6th in the GPAC, while the 12th nationally ranked Hastings’ team sits in first.
After the men’s game is finished, the women’s team will face off against Hastings. This should be another intense match-up, as NW tries to stave off the conference leaders and maintain its third-place standing as the season draws to a close.
On Saturday, there also is a performance of “Tales of The Kingdom” by the Children’s Theatre. This show will be held in the DeWitt Theatre Arts Center, and tickets may be reserved for free.
At 6 p.m. three distinguished alumni will be honored at a dinner in the Vermeer Dining Room. For friends and family of the honorees, tickets are available for $20 per person.
The day will wrap up with a concert in Christ Chapel with performances from the Symphonic Band, A cappella Choir and various ensembles. When the music stops, a reception will be held for all parents and students involved with the music department.
The grand finale of the weekend comes at 7 p.m. Sunday night when Tenth Avenue North and Phil Wickham will perform in the RSC four court area. This event is open to students, parents, alumni and anyone else looking for a night filled with music.