Homecoming is a week-long event that takes place in early November to commemorate U of M alumni and spotlight current students who serve as ambassadors for the university. This year, Homecoming will begin on Thursday, Nov. 2, and continue through Sunday, Nov. 5. From a Homecoming concert with a well-known artist to the Homecoming parade around campus, it is a fun-packed week of festivities.
The theme for this year is Memchella – combining the spirits of Coachella, the music and arts festival in California, with Memphis.
Sterling Parson, the director of live entertainment for the Student Activities Council, explained the theme further. “When we were coming up with the theme, we wanted something that could bring all Tigers together. So, what better way to bring them together than with music? For all the events, we try to put our best foot forward.”
Parson said the theme was chosen to increase school morale through the connecting power of music and the arts. “This year, we are trying to bring back the spirit of homecoming, so with Memchella, everyone is encouraged to show their true side of Memphis, like always wearing their stripes on their sleeve. We try throw in many diverse events and activities, so all different types of Tigers can come out and celebrate for Homecoming Week.”
Arguably the most anticipated event annually is the Homecoming concert, in which an artist is chosen every year to perform. This year, it was announced that rap icon DaBaby will headline and YTB FATT will open at the Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium on Thursday, Nov. 2 at 7 pm. The Homecoming concert gives students the opportunity to see a popular artist without breaking the bank, while simultaneously supporting the University of Memphis. In years past, the university has hosted Big Boogie, Young Dolph and Waka Flocka Flame as headliners for the Homecoming concert.
In addition, Homecoming Week features more than just a concert. Every year, there is a parade, in which all registered student organizations are welcome to participate. The parade on Friday, Nov. 3, will begin at 4 p.m. in the Zach Curlin Garage and conclude at 6 p.m. The Mighty Sound of the South Band will serve as musical accompaniment, performing familiar tunes like “Eye of the Tiger” and “The University of Memphis Fight Song.” In addition, officers from various campus student organizations will travel down Zach Curlin Street on adorned floats, dressed in Memphis grey and blue, as they hype up students for the big game the following day.
Due to Homecoming’s close timing with Halloween, some Homecoming events this year include giveaways for various items, including t-shirts and street signs, as well as some Halloween themed events such as Spook n’ Paint pumpkin painting and a Halloween costume contest.
Some organizations use Homecoming Week as an opportunity to hold fundraising and awareness events. For example, Tigers for St. Jude is hosting a “No More Cancer Rally” to help raise money for St. Jude and give students a chance to win prizes in exchange for winning fundraising challenges.
Joanie Coville, a University of Memphis feature twirler, participates in Homecoming activities every year for band and as a student. “My favorite part of homecoming game day is when we get to twirl on the field with the alumni twirlers from Memphis, as well as the little girls that may want to twirl one day at Memphis,” Coville said. “I also like getting to stand on the sideline and watch Mr. and Ms. U of M get crowned.”
Coville is most excited about the No More Cancer Rally and attending the DaBaby concert. “I am very excited about that because I used to listen to DaBaby in high school.”
The Homecoming game on Saturday against South Florida will include activities like the traditional crowning of Mr. and Ms. U of M and students are encouraged to attend the game in their best Memphis Tigers attire.
“My favorite part of Homecoming week is getting to see everyone come together as a university and get excited not just for football but for Homecoming itself. Homecoming weekend always brings a lot more excitement and helps get all the students involved in the football game, as well as just coming together as a school and celebrating being a Tiger,” Coville said.
All events and information for homecoming week can be found on Tiger Zone.