Why Do We Have a Homecoming?


Summer Campbell

Varsity football players stretch before starting practice.

Alexandra Cappella

Homecoming. What is it? Why is it such an important thing? How did it originate and why do we associate it with a big football game?

Homecoming is an American tradition. It’s tailor-made for the social customs of high schools and universities all over this country, and being so, it reflects the values of the cultures therein. It’s named for the coming-home (so to speak) of the alumni of whichever institution is hosting it. 

This year however homecoming could have been different if we could have gone this year because a lot of students havent seen eachother during corona. I asked a few students what their standpoints were on what they thought the significance of homecoming was and these were some of my responses. 


“Homecoming is stupid, I dont know why we have it, I didnt go to any becasue I saw no need to, but prom, theres a need to go” Thomas McGinley, Junior at Urbana

“It’s not too significant to me, it might have been during freshman or sophomore year but as a senior, homecoming just isn’t that important. Things like applying to colleges, prom, graduation, and the last football team are more memorable to me” Caroline Cummings, Senior at Urbana


The football game on the other hand  originated from alumni football games held at colleges since the 19th century. One of the oldest American football rivalries, Harvard vs. Yale, dates to 1875. Students, alumni and fans from both schools gather annually for The Game, although it’s never been called “homecoming”. The University of Michigan traces its tradition to 1897 with an alumni game, during which the varsity football team faced a squad of former players. I then asked students what they thought the homecoming football game came from and these were the next responses. 


“Well I am not too sure. But I would think that the game on Friday before hoco was just unnamed before they realized they could call it a homecoming game” Rayah Burge, Senior at Urbana

“It probably originated from students looking forward to a big game against two good football teams, I don’t really know” Roman Chandler, Graduate from Urbana


In my personal opinion before I had done any research on how the games originated I had no care to know, I am not really into football, but after looking, the origin is quite interesting i guess. But with what I think the significance is, I would have to agree with a few of the other seniors I talked to, I see no real significance in going to a homecoming dance personally, even as an underclassmen I saw no purpose. As a senior now I am definitely more concerned with colleges and work, graduation and things like that. As an underclassmen or as an alumni I can see how homecoming can hold a large significance but when you are a Junior or Senior, that significance goes right out the door and other things are more of a priority.