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College Homecoming Event Ideas from
Welcoming Alumni to Boosting School Spirit

published: May 12, 2023
College Homecoming Event Ideas from Welcoming Alumni to Boosting School Spirit

Not only is homecoming a great time to build school spirit among students who attend your college or university, but it’s the perfect opportunity to welcome back alumni, appreciate faculty and staff, thank donors and supporters, and build community among the family and friends of students.

If you’re looking for some stellar homecoming event ideas, you’ve come to the right place. Crestline offers a wealth of promotional items that can help make your homecoming a unique and memorable one and shares some fun events and activities that can support the big event.

Pre-Homecoming Ideas

Start drumming up excitement early by coming up with some pre-event hoopla. Obviously, promote the homecoming festivities on your existing website, on your social media feeds, through regular email communications, and as part of your alumni or donor mailings.

Why not up the ante by mailing out a save the date postcard or offering a unique invitation package to your most generous donors?

Here are some ideas →
Pre-Homecoming Ideas

Friday Alumni Event

Kick off the weekend festivities by welcoming alumni back to campus with a happy hour or dinner. Encourage mingling with one another as well as with existing faculty and student leaders. A Party-Ease Snack & Wine Tray makes small talk and snacking easier with a built-in beverage holder. Turn other hospitality items like wine glasses and cups into custom printed souvenirs.

Some fun homecoming alumni ideas include hosting a concert with music provided by a student group, a local band, or even a well-known ensemble; a theater production; or some other activity like a game night.

← Other must-haves for your evening include
Friday Alumni Event

College Homecoming T-Shirts

Be sure to have homecoming T-shirts ready to go at the beginning of the weekend. They are the perfect way to commemorate the event. Incorporate your homecoming theme for the year as well as the date and your school colors and logo. Crestline’s Bella + Canvas™ Modern Fit T-Shirt is supremely soft and stylish in cut, sure to be a well-loved and well-worn T-shirt for years to come. Vary the style or colors so that alumni, faculty, students, or even event volunteers have a slightly different look. Change up your design year to year so that your spirit wear items become collectible.

Other student and alumni homecoming shirt ideas include →
College Homecoming T-Shirts

Decorate Campus for Homecoming

From a welcome alumni banner to balloons in your school colors, decorations definitely add to the festivities. Incorporate your homecoming theme into simple things like signs to find parking or activities or other decorations throughout your buildings to promote school spirit. Our 7ft x 3ft Vinyl Banner is strong, weather-resistant 13 oz. reinforced vinyl with finished ends and six metal grommets for secure hanging.

← Other top-selling decorations include:
Decorate Campus for Homecoming

Homecoming Parade

Invite the Family

One of the biggest college homecoming events is a parade. It’s a great way to showcase your school pride and spirit. Solicit the participation of different sports teams and clubs to build floats, and ask your marching band to play. Invite other student organizations, alumni, faculty and staff to participate in the parade. Pass out lots of fun parade throws to add to the festivities.

Homecoming Tailgate Ideas

Homecoming Tailgate Ideas

Everyone loves tailgate parties, sometimes even more than the actual game! Be sure to take advantage of this quintessential homecoming activity by setting up event tents, inviting food trucks, offering a variety of portable outdoor games like corn hole, and giving away useful homecoming-themed swag like cups and can coolers. Raffle off some branded prizes like our Fold Up Chair, which is made of sturdy nylon and comes with a carrying bag and cup holder. It will be a prize perfect for the entire sporting season!

Some best-selling homecoming tailgate ideas include:

Homecoming Football Game

Although many of your students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters may be busy cheering on the home team, the actual football game is the perfect place to set up a merchandise table for attendees to pick up souvenirs or gifts for friends and family who could not attend. Crestline’s 6 Foot Standard Table Throw is made of durable polyester material that is flame retardant and wrinkle resistant. Imprint with your school logo, and this throw can be used year-round at other college or university events.

Encourage year-long school spirit by selling T-shirts, hoodies, pennants, drinkware, or a myriad of other items. This can be the perfect central location to pick up giveaways or prizes for half-time games or contests as well.

Check out these necessities for your game-day merchandise table:
Homecoming Football Game

Post-Homecoming Events

Post-Homecoming Events

Maximize the time that alumni, parents, donors and supporters are on campus. After all, they’ve potentially taken days off and invested money in traveling for homecoming already. Host some activities a day or two longer to extend your alumni homecoming activities, even after students return to class.

Here are some fun ideas:
  • Sunday Brunch. Help alumni meet and network with one another at a Sunday brunch before people start back to the airport or head home. This event can be informal and casual or be organized around particular professions or industries. If alumni tend to bring family along for the festivities, you could host a family picnic with food, games, and more giveaways.
  • Fundraiser. Although most alumni are often generous to their alma maters, it can be extra fun to raise money through an event instead of simply making a donation. Homecoming can be a great time to tack on a 5K race or a golf tournament, helping your school raise some extra funds for a new program, building or initiative.
  • Seminars or Meetings. If you have alumni-related committees or continuing education offerings, post-homecoming can be a great time to organize an in-person meeting or live seminar to complement an online course or regular Zoom meetings.
  • Class Reunions. In order to maximize travel time and budgets, you could schedule class reunions immediately after homecoming. Coordinate with your alumni office to arrange events the following week.
  • Thank You Notes. And remember to send out an email or postcard to alumni who attended homecoming or related activities this year, expressing your appreciation for their attendance and ongoing support.

Homecoming is a priceless opportunity to build school spirit and further engage your staff, faculty, alumni, donors, supporters, and surrounding community. By taking advantage of these fun homecoming event ideas and offering a variety of promotional giveaways, you can successfully use this fall event to build recognition and support for your learning institution.