In a year with in-person gatherings paused due to the Covid-19 pandemic, planning for back-to-school events last September faced a reckoning – how are celebrations of campus spirit possible in a virtual space?
The 2020 Homecoming organizing committees at UBC’s Vancouver and Okanagan campuses rolled up their sleeves to set about re-imagining the weekend with events that highlighted the opportunities and ideas that bring the campus community together – keeping people safe while raising school spirit.
“During the pandemic, we realized the importance of connection and through teamwork, flexibility and creativity,” says Natalie Cook-Zywicki, Associate Vice-President/Executive Director, Alumni UBC. “The Homecoming committee ensured a treasured UBC tradition continued to build UBC pride and lift the spirits of students, alumni, faculty and staff.”
UBC Vancouver pivots to online celebrations
At UBC Vancouver’s campus, Homecoming guests enjoyed a pre-recorded online show broadcast on Friday, September 25, with a “tailgate music party,” featuring Juno-nominated Canadian singer-songwriter Scott Helman, The Tenors (including UBC alum Fraser Walters), and UBC’s own Missy D, followed by a celebration featuring a who’s who of the UBC community. Over the weekend, Homecoming attendees took part in a plethora of virtual activities, including wine-tasting; drawing, stretching, and cooking classes; and a fun quiz. Close to 800 people participated in the virtual Vancouver Homecoming celebration events.
UBC Okanagan gathering virtually to celebrate 15 years
For its third annual Homecoming, UBC Okanagan reimagined the event as a digital celebration of the campus’s 15-year anniversary. “Homecoming at Home” was an opportunity to engage with alumni and students around the world through a broadcast that reflected uniquely Okanagan campus memories, along with messages from alumniUBC Board Chair Ross Langford, President Santa J. Ono, and Deputy Vice Chancellor & Principal Lesley Cormack. Segments included “Alumni Around the World” and a highly entertaining compilation of UBC professors reading their “Rate My Professor” reviews. More than 200 alumni and community members joined the celebrations.
Homecoming celebrations continue
The community can continue to enjoy this year’s virtual Homecoming events, recorded for posterity and available on the alumniUBC website:
- UBC Homecoming: UBC Minds and Wines Virtual Tasting
- UBC Homecoming: Virtual Cooking Class in Partnership with Fresh Prep
- UBC Homecoming: 2020 UBC Sports Hall of Fame
UBC is committed to working with alumniUBC to broaden and deepen engagement through programs that cultivate pride, empower personal growth, support professional development and enable contribution (Strategy 18: Alumni Engagement).