Oct 022011
 
Authors: Elisabeth Willner

When Carol Vaughan graduated from CSU in 1971, homecoming didn’t include a 5K race. Saturday morning she ran it.

When Lieutenant firefighter Mike McBride graduated in 1979, homecoming didn’t include a bonfire. Friday night he oversaw it.

And when Lynne Costen attended school in Vermont she probably didn’t expect to become a participant in CSU Homecoming.

Then her son, Emmet, chose CSU to get his engineering degree, and Lynne became one of the thousands of CSU community members who attended homecoming events this weekend.

“We’ve had an outstanding turnout,” said CSU spokesman Brad Bohlander Saturday morning. “I think the biggest thing I’ve noticed is the energy.”

This year’s Homecoming and Family Weekend continued a trend of increased participation that has taken place over the past four years, Bohlander added.

Students and alumni have been drawn to participate because the university has changed homecoming according to their suggestions, he said.

Matthew Helmer, the executive director of the office of CSU Events and Constituent Engagement, agreed. He cited the Homecoming Parade, which was moved from Saturday to Friday based on student suggestions, as an example. About 50 percent of this year’s parade entries belonged to student groups as compared to 10 percent five years ago, according to Helmer.

“It’s one of our greatest successes,” he said.

Other groups increased their involvement too. More alumni participated thanks to the inclusion of the distinguished alumni awards ceremony, which has been held separately in the past.

Parents of current students attended a special meeting of RamFam, an organization that helps connect families to the university.

At the RamFam meeting on Saturday morning, President Tony Frank, Provost Rick Miranda and Vice President of Student Affairs Blanche Hughes answered questions posed by parents about CSU concealed carry policy, rising tuition costs and overbooked classes.

The event left many parents feeling included and satisfied, including Peg Grady, the mother of a sophomore communications major.

“We’re very thrilled with all that CSU does to make students welcome,and to educate them, as well as welcoming parents,” Grady said on her way out of the meeting.

Robert Mitchell, a parent of five including one CSU freshman, got up during the meeting to thank the administration for including parents.

“I appreciate the effort that this school makes so that families feel involved,” he said after the meeting, “particularly this opportunity to have a conversation. I don’t know any other school that would do that.”

Other members of the CSU community enjoyed that homecoming gave them the opportunity to return to CSU and reconnect with friends and family and see how the university has changed.

Scherry Evans, an alumna of CSU, watched the parade Friday afternoon with her husband, and planned to attend most of the other events, including the game, the tailgate and a reunion luncheon.

“We came all the way from Washington state, so we don’t want to miss anything,” Evans said. “It’s nice seeing old friends and revisiting the campus to see all the new additions.”

Collegian writer Elisabeth Willner can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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