What Sets Houghton’s Homecoming Above the Rest?

Homecoming is an exciting time on any college campus, but in this Highlander’s personal opinion, no one does “Houghmecoming” quite like the good old purple and gold (did you see what I did there?) Each year, the first week of October is jam-packed with campus-wide activities, culminating into one epic, fun-for-the-whole-family weekend. Seriously, what could better than meeting inspiring alumni, dancing the night away, an activity fair and harvest themed buffet down in the field house, intense athletic contests, and a comedy/talent show featuring some of Houghton’s very own best and brightest?

Now, dear reader, if I could be so bold as to assume such things, I would think that the answer hovering over the tip of your tongue should be something along the lines of, “Nothing! I cannot think of anything better!” and you would be completely correct. However, if you’re one of the few skeptical souls out there that may need a bit more convincing, never fear! There is more homecoming information to come, and by the time this short synopsis comes to a close, I hope you will have a good idea of what it means to be a Highlander.

Homecoming at Houghton: Purple and Gold Week

As I briefly mentioned before, homecoming festivities typically kick off the first week of October, at the Christian college that I, along with so many other students, call Houghme (oops…I did it again). “What exactly does this mean?” you ask. “PURPLE AND GOLD COMPETITIONS!” I answer. The entire campus—from students to faculty to coaches—is divided up and grouped into either Team Purple or Team Gold.

Our lovely Campus Activities Board works hard to come up with creative challenges and competitions held throughout the week. This could be anything from scavenger hunts to sidewalk chalk competitions! At the end of each competition, one or multiple winners are crowned, and points are awarded to that winner’s team. The point tally runs throughout the week, and the highly anticipated results are announced at the homecoming dance on Friday night.

Homecoming Weekend Events

Now, if you think that sounds fun, hold onto your hats, because we are just getting started! Saturday morning of homecoming weekend, students, alumni, and community members alike are invited down to the Kerr-Pegula Athletic Complex—our stately field house—to peruse an activities fair featuring our clubs and athletic teams. Each club present usually has some sort of interactive game, while the athletic teams typically have an activity relating to their sport: you could try to score a goal on a lacrosse player, shoot some baskets, or hit softballs off a tee—whatever suits your fancy.

Sometimes, the fair even features an outside hire or two, just to mix things up a bit. This year, we had a balloon artist that was literally able to fashion a headband featuring a monkey climbing a tree. Lunch is also held in the field house on this day—usually accompanied by autumn-themed decorations—which is a great way to get people who serve all sorts of different niches on our campus in on the homecoming fun.

My personal favorite homecoming events are the athletic contests and the comedy/talent show known as SPOT. The college always hosts men’s and women’s soccer games on Saturday, as well as a volleyball game. These are all wonderful opportunities to sit with friends and be loud and proud about the fact that you rep purple and gold!

Saturday Night Highlight: SPOT

Finally, after the visiting teams have gone back from whence they came, and the campus itself seems just about ready to fall back into the slow-moving pace of a typical lazy Saturday—it’s time for SPOT! This hallmark event occurs twice a year, once each semester, and is always met with high expectations.

Students, faculty, and community members pile into the chapel at 10:00 pm to watch student-made videos, musical performances, comedy skits, and the like. What makes SPOT so special—and so hilarious to those gathered for it—is the fact that the material is 100% particular to Houghton. Jokes about dorm rivalries or the Dean of the Chapel’s staple orange flip-flops would simply be lost on anyone outside the Houghton community. In this way, SPOT allows students to have fun and let loose, but also recognize the ways in which our school is so unique.

Remembering the Past and Looking Forward

Therein lies precisely what I love about homecoming at Houghton College. It is a time set aside to remember the past, to acknowledge the impressive pioneers that came before us, as well as the One who allows what they built to continue to flourish today. I believe that the Lord is always present on our campus, but this time of year, the air itself seems to be charged with wonder and gratitude for all that He has allowed this community to accomplish. Wherever you end up going to school or living out your life, I hope that you may find this same sense of wonder and gratitude—but just know that Houghton is a great place to do both these things!


Hannah Cybart is a junior majoring in biology at Houghton. She plays basketball and softball for the Highlanders!