Campus Life | August 29th, 2021
Everything We Know About Homecoming So Far
By: Micah Barkley
After a truly missed 2020 homecoming, Florida A&M University is gearing up for this fall’s hotly-anticipated festivities. For years, FAMU has received applause for its remarkable homecoming jollity but in the previous year, COVID-19 halted all campus gatherings indefinitely. Now, as we embark on the upcoming school year — and with homecoming season approaching in less than three months — we have to ask the essential question: What could be holding this years’ homecoming back?
The simple answer: the newly-emerged delta variant. The novel variant is far more contagious than the other strains of the coronavirus. By the end of this past July, this variant caused over 80% of new COVID-19 cases. As things on FAMU’s campus are scheduled to return back to normal, the Student Government Association (SGA) has already taken into account the risks that the students and even visitors may face if an unregulated homecoming is to take place.
Homecoming committee staff member and SGA Chief of Staff Jaelyn Guyton says the administration is remaining diligent and precautious in planning homecoming as the threat of the variant arises. “The administration has been very proactive in working with SGA on keeping our students safe and have looked at every option, venue, and procedure imaginable to keep COVID-19 [precaution] at the forefront of everything we do,” Guyton said. He also noted that Gov. Ron DeSantis has implemented obstacles that have made planning more difficult — with masks not being mandatory inside school buildings while the CDC suggests otherwise — yet they will continue to move forward.
When it comes to the expectations and lineups for this year’s homecoming, Guyton says, “There will, of course, be the well-known events and activities.” However, nothing specific about performances or events has been revealed as of late. While many avid attendees are still troubled by the possibility of a homecoming cancellation this year, the twelve subcommittees are still working towards the long-awaited event.
Vice President of SGA Marcus Thomas, who is over planning homecoming, asserts, “There will be a homecoming this year.” Thomas says that he “can’t really drop who we’re having as far as celebrities,” but he is excited to announce that celebrities will not only be present at the homecoming concert but throughout the entire week.
While understanding the gravity of the pandemic, he continued, “We are planning as if homecoming is an open and free world like we know from before.” Florida’s regulations and mandates have eased up almost completely, which allows for regular homecoming activities but Thomas assures there is still an expectation in place for masks and social distancing.
Some incoming freshmen have shared their sentiments on the process of this year’s homecoming, along with their expectations and fears. Ki Manning, an incoming freshman, stated that she is excited for her first time at the event. “I’m looking forward to my first homecoming experience in college and experiencing an HBCU at its best while enjoying my newfound friends, ” the 18-year-old said. Manning also explained that she is afraid of a potential second lockdown because of this virus. For her, campus shutting down dampers her freshman experience.
For many of FAMU’s students and alumni, this year’s homecoming feels like a crucial point to continue the university’s tradition and legacy. In spite of the brimming excitement for the week, the virus is continuing to make many feel unnerved.