Plattsburgh State’s second annual homecoming bonfire will be held at Memorial Field today at 8:30 p.m. Last year’s inaugural bonfire and banner showcase competition marked the beginning of a new PSUC tradition for both alumni and current students.
This year’s bonfire features several upgrades, following the success of last year’s event. Associate Director of Alumni Relations Kerry Chapin-Lavigne said the banners will be showcased at the forefront of the field, so attendees can see them as they enter, rather than seeing them from in front the large bonfire along the Saranac River. Also, Chartwells has upgraded the event’s food service from a concession tent to a concession trailer, where snacks and hot chocolate will be served.
Chapin-Lavigne said the PSUC Gospel Choir will perform the school’s alma mater in a capella at the bonfire as well, marking a new tradition.
While the new homecoming staple looks to add new features, the events of this weekend will also focus on the past, providing a link between alumni of years and decades past to current students on campus today.
“Homecoming is certainly a flagship event that unites everybody -our campus community, including our students, our faculty, our staff- and it welcomes our alumni back to campus,” Chapin-Lavigne said.
The Alumni Relations Office has received nearly 500 registrations from alumni and guests for the weekend attendance. Some alumni are travelling back to Plattsburgh from as far as California and Colorado. The number is expected to more-than-double with the inclusion of students.
Chapin-Lavigne said the bonfire is just one of the approximately 35 events incorporated into homecoming weekend. She also said departments across campus plan “welcome back” events for their respective programs, including communications and nursing, which also entices alumni to come back.
She estimates 150 alumni are returning to take part in rugby anniversary celebrations. The Men’s rugby team will be commemorating their 50th anniversary and Women’s rugby will be marking their 35th anniversary.
The bonfire event also includes the banner showcase competition. Clubs, organizations, residence halls and other campus communities have designed banners to represent their group at the fire. The banners will be judged by staff, faculty and alumni to determine winners based on creativity. The Alumni Relations office is expected to hang 30 banners this year.
PSUC Marketing and Communications Office Photographer Konrad Odhiambo said although he is a student, he will be taking pictures of the bonfire for the school for work.
“I want to blend in as a student, but also take pictures and work as I walk around.”
He said homecoming weekend has become more popular at PSUC, largely because of the bonfire and banner showcase.
“I think it is just a wonderful time of year for our alumni to come back. They want to see students and want to interact. They want to see that the campus is vibrant and full of life and as they remembered it.” Chapin-Lavigne said. “Plattsburgh is a friendly place and there’s no denying that when they come back they have that same feeling as if they had just been here days ago when in fact, for some of them, it will have been years since they’ve stepped foot on our campus.”
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