Homecoming: An Age-Old Tradition from a Freshmen’s Perspective

From October 12-18, the Class of 2019 experienced Florida A&M University’s annual Homecoming week, themed “Straight out of FAMU.”

For a number of freshmen, this was their first time engaging in FAMU’s rich homecoming tradition.

Will Packer, a FAMU alumnus, was one of the executive producers for the box office hit “Straight Outta Compton”, which the theme is derived from.

The Office of Student Activities has titled FAMU’s Homecoming as “C.O.L.A.C.” which stands for “College Of Love And Charity”- the opening line in the school’s Alma Mater.

“I loved every second of Homecoming, especially since we won the game!” exclaimed Renecia Gatson, a first-year FAMU psychology student from Jacksonville, Fla. “Of course I had always known of Homecoming, but to be here experiencing everything as a student was a special opportunity.”

After hearing negative remarks from upperclassmen comparing past Homecomings, some freshmen were apprehensive about their first Homecoming.

Onyx Franklin, the freshmen class president confidently affirmed: “If you have a genuine Rattler spirit, you control the outcome of any situation.”

Following her first-hand encounter with homecoming, Franklin believes in FAMU ‘19 and the university more than ever.

He explained that her class is full of ‘Heavy-Hitters’ and that one day they will fall into the category of prominent FAMU alumni.  

“FAMU ‘19 is ready to see not only what FAMU can do for us, but what we can do for FAMU,” Franklin said.

Although Jasmine Reed, a first-year biology pre-med student from Detroit, Mich., was not very fond of the homecoming theme at first, she soon figured out that it was more to meet the eye.  

“I did not even like the theme at first," she said. “I was expecting it to be like high school, where I was used to themes like ‘A Night in Paris’ or a ‘A Red Carpet Affair.’ Now I see that FAMU’s Homecoming is much more than just a dance and a game. Everything at FAMU is just on another level.”

Reed added that the week showcased a medley of talented individuals, who are all “Straight Outta FAMU.”

From Coronation at the beginning of the week, to having the alumni band perform at the game, the Class of 2019 witnessed the strong involvement of Rattlers even after life on “The Hill.”

“It really made me look forward to graduating and being on the other side as an alumna,” Gatson said. 

Alexander Debnam, a first-year fine arts student from San Bernardino, Calif., stated that he witnessed the fervent alumni spirit just as fresh as that of the current students.

“I went to just about everything this week and at each event I met a different alumni,” Debnam said. “They were all so happy to be back and willing to talk to me as if I was not a complete stranger.”

Rashawn Fearin, a first-year criminal justice student from Miami said, “When I go to school everyday, I feel like I am going home. So for me, Homecoming was similar to inviting all of my family and friends over for a whole week: like a family reunion. Homecoming made me want to be more involved in FAMU."

He added that the highlight of his homecoming was the Greek Step Show.

“The Greek Step Show was definitely my favorite event! Every single organization was very creative with their show and I enjoyed seeing some of my professors out there strolling with the greeks.”

The schedule of activities differ from year to year, however, COLAC 2015 produced a few staple events.

The Comedy Show was on Tuesday, the Greek Step Show on Thursday, Homecoming Convocation on Friday and the Saturday Homecoming Parade, which was routed through campus for the first time in nearly 50 years.

This year, the Dorm Step Show made it back to COLAC’s calendar, giving the on-campus-residents a chance to take back bragging rights to their living facilities.

While the week served as an inaugural experience for some, other freshmen have Homecoming on their list of annual holidays just as Thanksgiving and Christmas.

An energetic first-year pre-physical therapy student from Tallahassee, Kianna Robinson, recounted her first homecoming experience as a student. 

“Homecoming was more than what I expected,” she said. “Finally, I was able to participate in the events as a student and not just as a ‘Baby Rattler.’ I went to my first Homecoming game when I was about three-years-old and I have been to every one since then. As a child, I remember the band being loud, the vendor lines being long, the food being delicious and seeing all the people that traveled to Tallahassee for that weekend.”  

Robinson added that the celebration of Homecoming is a part of FAMU’s culture and that ‘COLAC’ is a well suited title because the attendees can sense the love and charity all around the college.