By Alex Williams
Homecoming, one of the most treasured and highly anticipated moments for HBCU alumni and students, has been moved to a virtual setting due to COVID-19.
While many knew it was coming, reality has hit, as students can no longer congregate on their precious yards, enjoy the majestic sounds of the band at the homecoming football game or reminisce with fellow students and alumni about their favorite college memories.
Instead, students and alumni have been forced to watch the festivities from a computer screen. Keeping this rich tradition alive virtually is a major task, acknowledged by Rhoden Fellows during the latest podcast on HBCU homecomings and voter registration on college campuses.
Tennessee State University (TSU) has planned several virtual events Oct. 23-25 under the theme, “Essentially TSU – We’re in This Together!”
Virtual events include a scholarship gala titled, “An Evening of Jokes and Jazz!” and Tennessee State University (TSU) Virtual Homecoming 2020 Majorette “MajorThreats.” The virtual celebration will conclude Oct. 25th with a Gospel Brunch at 1 p.m., hosted by TSU alum Dr. Bobby Jones, known in many circles as the Ambassador of Gospel Entertainment.
Tiara Thomas, student trustee on TSU’s Board of Trustees, said even though this year’s homecoming will not be traditional, she and her peers are still looking forward to them.
“We will not allow COVID-19 to silence our celebration of our beloved TSU and all of its excellence. The Homecoming committee has worked hard to virtually capture the traditions of Homecoming Week,” Thomas said.
Howard University, Hampton University, Morehouse College, Florida A&M University, Clark Atlanta University and Prairie View A&M University, all schools attended by the Fellows, have a special task to make this year’s homecoming feel special and unforgettable. Guest performances and intriguing homecoming throwback videos have dominated social media timelines as universities nationwide embark on this virtual experience.
Not taking the HBCU homecoming experience for granted is a major lesson of 2020.