Did You Know? 
Interesting, funny, and historical facts


Homecoming is a time to celebrate shared experiences, when alumni from high schools and colleges return to their alma mater to reconnect with people, places and traditions. More than just a football game, the modern homecoming has evolved into a week of celebrations that bring out the school pride in students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Homecoming events range from tailgate parties and bonfires to formal dances and the coronation of a homecoming court.

The tradition of homecoming evolved from alumni football games that were played at different colleges and universities in the Mid-1800s. Many schools claim to have had the first homecoming, but the NCAA recognizes the University of Missouri as having the first homecoming in 1911, when Athletic Director Chester Brewer invited alumni to come home for the Missouri-Kansas football game. More than 9,000 alumni and fans attended the event, making Mizzou's homecoming an example for homecomings across the nation.

We are all familiar with the usual homecoming traditions such as decorating floats for the parade and nominating a court, but there are some very unique traditions out there that many do not know about. Here are some unique homecoming traditions celebrated on college campuses across the U.S.

At the University of Central Florida (UCF), thousands of students charge into the Reflecting Pond to kick off Homecoming every year. The tradition began in 1995, when the student body president’s cabinet members threw him into the Reflecting Pond, and everyone jumped in after him. Spirit Splash was awarded Best Campus Tradition 2011 by the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA).

On the Friday of homecoming week at midnight you will finds thousands of students kissing under the University of Northern Iowa’s campanile (bell tower). The tradition dates back to the 1920s when women outnumbered men on campus. It is said that a male student would call a random female student to meet him at the campanile. The male student would hide in the bushes and if he did not like what he saw, he would leave the girl waiting and go back and call another instead. The campaniling tradition faded out over the decades but has since been revived with the efforts of the Alumni Association.

At Virginia Tech the football that will be used for the big game is kept in constant movement the entire week by ROTC students. Students run around campus screaming “game ball” so students can touch it for good luck. Minutes before kickoff, one lucky ROTC student get to run the ball into the stadium. The annual tradition began in 1977, when cadets in the Ranger Company first ran the game ball 100 miles around campus the week of the annual Homecoming football game.

Last year’s homecoming at South Dakota State marked the 101st Hobo Day celebration. Events include; Hobo Olympics, Miss Homelycoming (contestants are all male) and Bum-A-Meal. There is also the very interesting “One Month Club” competition, where male grow their beards for an entire month and women grow their leg hair for a month as well. At the end of the month the hairiest contestant wins. Hobo Day has only been cancelled twice, once in WWI and again in WWII.

After a two-year hiatus, Homecoming returns to STU with a bang! What traditions would you like to see restored or started? Help us build long lasting traditions at STU by joining us at Homecoming & Reunion Weekend on February 12-15, 2014.

What other Homecoming traditions have you discovered recently? Tell us on Facebook, Twitter (@STU_Alumni), or email them to alumni@stu.edu!