Opinion | Transfer Panther’s Homecoming advice

By Ashanti McLaurin, Staff Columnist

The COVID-19 pandemic took away a lot of the college experience from students — in-person classes, football games and especially homecoming. Homecoming is an event in college that one should not miss. It’s a way for alumni to come back and reminisce on their previous college years and for current students to cherish the traditions and people of the University.

As a transfer student, I never got the opportunity to experience the true definition of being a Pitt Panther. I was ready to experience my first semester at Pitt in fall 2020, yet that was spent confined in my bedroom with a laptop on Zoom. Back on campus, masked and fully vaccinated one year later, I am ready to see what a Pitt Homecoming might look like while we’re still stuck in a pandemic.

What should you do at Homecoming? Everything you see — that is still safe and socially distanced, since we’re still in a pandemic. Pitt packed this year’s Homecoming full of fun and adventurous activities in person and virtual for everyone’s personal preference. Here are some events you can attend to make your Homecoming weekend a memorable one.

Welcome back and check-in

Are you a Pitt alumnus? Do you miss walking around campus and Oakland? Did you miss seeing your classmates and favorite professors? Friday from noon to 7:30 p.m. at the William Pitt Union, by the Panther statue, is Welcome Back and Check-in. Whether you’re a new alumnus or graduated more than 20 years ago, this event is a day for alumni to gather with their previous peers and relive the college experience. The Pitt band will bring back their “snake” tradition — marching through campus and playing songs that will get you on your feet and excited for the anticipated football game.

Annual football game

Saturday at noon at Heinz Field is the long-awaited Homecoming football game that students, parents, alumni, staff and Pittsburgh residents can attend. This year’s game is between the Panthers and the University of New Hampshire Wildcats. The excitement is through the roof for the annual Homecoming game that everyone has waited for since classes were online last academic year. Before I came to Pitt, I’d always heard that Pittsburgh is a city full of football fanatics, but since becoming a cheerleader for the Spirit Squad, I have come to realize how true this statement is. I highly recommend enjoying the company of the parade, friends, football, tailgating and Pitt traditions.

Fireworks and laser show

To cool off from a hype afternoon football game, consider attending the annual firework and laser show. The Pitt Program Council is in charge of the festive and colorful Firework and Laser show, which will begin Saturday at 9 p.m. by the William Pitt Union and Cathedral of Learning. The tradition is usually held the Friday before the football game, but this year it’s in the evening — making it a night to remember. Pitt students and alumni can watch our cherished and historical Cathedral of Learning light up in a variety of colors. Laying out on the Great Lawn with friends can be relaxing and make you appreciate all Pitt has to offer.

Whether this is your first or fourth Pitt Homecoming, the University worked to create a fun, safe and enjoyable set of events for all current students, alumni and community. I’m excited to not only cheer during Homecoming, but to understand the true meaning of Hailing to Pitt.

Ashanti McLaurin primarily writes about Black culture, human injustices and gives life advice. Write to her at [email protected].