Back at my high school, it was always really lame when people who had graduated came back for Homecoming.
The current students felt as if the former students had already had their moment; they needed to move on and get over high school.
They were no longer welcome and did not belong.
Thankfully, I have found that the spirit of Wartburg’s homecoming could not be further from that of my high school.
Wartburg alumni are welcomed back with open arms and a beer or two (or three) from Oktoberfest.
Some are freshly graduated and in the middle of a first job, while others I’m fairly certain attended Wartburg back when Old Main was the only building.
Whatever stage of life they may be in, all alumni have a place at Wartburg’s Homecoming.
Whether it’s Jazz After Dark, Kastle Kapers, Oktoberfest or the football game, there’s something that everybody will enjoy.
It creates a unique experience where current and former students can swap stories and share memories.
Maybe you’ll find yourself chatting with a ’67 alum at Oktoberfest or maybe you’ll make a connection with a prospective employer while working at the Renaissance Faire.
This is one of the benefits of the close-knit community we have here on campus.
Knights watch out for their fellow Knights, and this is true during your time as a student here and after graduation.
We have a long history of alumni helping out recent grads, and events like Homecoming provide the perfect environment for students to network in an informal setting and make those connections.
It’s the true alumni-centric spirit of Wartburg’s Homecoming that makes it a valuable asset to students and alumni alike.
Wartburg’s alumni community is so thriving and interested in what is happening with current students on campus. That’s not something you see much anymore.
Because Wartburg alumni are so involved in the college and so curious about the current students’ achievements, it’s easy to strike up a conversation with Knights who received their diplomas years, even decades ago.
The experience is genuine, and the atmosphere of Homecoming is perfect to maximize these alumni-student relationships.
I bet every student could name at least one Wartburg alumni that he or she could turn to after graduation for any number of reasons, and I believe this to be one of the many values of being orange.
You see this connection come through in many other aspects of the Wartburg experience as well, like Wartburg West or Orange Connection, but having the alumni flock to campus to really mingle with the students on their own turf not only brings back fond memories for the alumni, but gives students a real sense of what’s possible after graduation.
Homecoming is not just for current students; it is to welcome back and celebrate all the students that have come before us.
Of course alumni are on campus at many other events throughout the year, but there’s just something special about the ease of connection during Homecoming.
Many of the alumni have paved the way for us, and I hope that when I return I can do the same thing for future students.