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'The pinnacle event of the fall': UW-Madison homecoming comes to you

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MADISON, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Madison is kicking off virtual homecoming celebrations this week.

The week will offer students and alumni many online alternatives to traditional Homecoming in-person events, such as an online fifth quarter before Friday’s football game against Illinois instead of the usual Homecoming parade.

Organizers of the events said they wanted to move Homecoming online rather than cancelling it in order to help people come together amidst the pandemic.

“What homecoming really is for Badgers is that sense of connection, community, shared experience, spirit and tradition,” Sarah Schutt, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Alumni Association, said. “We sought to create some of those opportunities virtually to create the same sense of pride and tradition.”

This week’s celebrations come after the university faced backlash last year over a homecoming video that featured virtually only white students. Organizers said the school put in extra effort during the planning process to avoid a similar mistake this year.

“It was such an eye opening moment and so regretful of the hurt we caused of marginalizing some members of our community,” Schutt said. “If we are celebrating homecoming we are celebrating all badgers back to campus, and creating an experience that is inclusive of and speaks to the needs and interests of as many Badgers as possible.”

Homecoming week will also offer several multicultural events designated for alumni of color, such as a game night and a panel on voter education.

“In planning multicultural homecoming we are acknowledging that the experience of our alumni of color and our communities of color is quite different,” Schutt said. “We wanted to provide the opportunity specifically with our communities of color to come together and be a community with each other.

Homecoming events will run from Oct. 21-24. For more information on the activities, visit the Wisconsin Alumni Association’s website.

“Homecoming is that pinnacle event of the fall that celebrates Badgers coming together, being a community and celebrating tradition,” Schutt said.

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