By Ashley St. John
SUNY Plattsburgh’s Homecoming weekend is usually seen as an exciting time for alumni to come back to Plattsburgh and reconnect with other alumni and current students.
But with COVID-19 concerns still restricting large social gatherings, the activities planned will all be held virtually on Zoom to adhere to these guidelines.
Even though Homecoming is going to look different this year, organizers are challenging themselves to create a fun and engaging experience to replicate that Homecoming feel.
“We are excited about keeping Homecoming engagement alive virtually for SUNY Plattsburgh alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends,” Kerry Chapin-Lavigne, director of alumni relations, said.
Although there are a few mainstays missing from the virtual Homecoming experience, such as not being able to host any athletic games or the annual bonfire, there is hope that hosting Zoom events can increase accessibility for more alumni, who might not have been previously able to attend in the past.
“You can join us from almost anywhere. Whether it is from your home, office or favorite coffee shop, we encourage you to attend.” Chapin-Lavinge said.
There are a total of 17 Zoom events over the four days, which includes the Welcome and Reflections, hosted by President Alexander Enyedi yesterday at noon, the Alumni Speak hosted today at 5:30 p.m. and a virtual 5K run tomorrow at 8 a.m.
For the virtual 5K run, alumni, students and faculty are encouraged to register online, print their SUNY Plattsburgh Homecoming 5K race bib, complete their chosen 5K route and then take photos of themselves to post them on social media or email them to the Alumni Relations Office.
“Our Homecoming format may have changed this year, but that hasn’t changed the spirit of the SUNY Plattsburgh community,” Chapin-Lavinge said.
She said that while Homecoming won’t be the same with alumni strolling through campus, the health and well-being of the community is the top priority.
Among the regular Homecoming weekend activities, the many fraternities and sororities on campus have also had to change up their normally scheduled events.
Vice President of Marketing of Alpha Phi Emma Ryan said that even though alumni aren’t allowed to visit this year, she’s confident it will still be a great time. Ryan oversees and helps the director of parent and alumni relations in her sorority to plan out the upcoming events. She said that the few events they have planned are all on Zoom to keep up with the school and state regulations of no large gatherings
“It’s kind of sad that we can’t have in-person events like normal, but I do understand why,” she said.
Ryan also said Alpha Phi is being proactive and set clear boundaries for the sisters currently in Plattsburgh. She said that she is excited to be able to connect with all the Alpha Phi alumni no matter how that happens.