Homecoming 2020 will be held virtually this year

One of the UBC’s biggest school spirit events, Homecoming, will look different this year with due to COVID-19. It will be held virtually this Friday along with many activities throughout the weekend.

“It’s a very exciting and dynamic 40 minute program. There is a lot of diversity in the program that’s being presented, including some fantastic musical acts, inspiration and words from some sport alumni, as well as from some UBC dignitaries. So it’s going to be a really fun event,” said UBC Athletics Managing Director Kavie Toor.

Some of the alumni taking part of this celebration include Raptors 905 head coach Jama Mahlalela, former major league baseball pitcher Jeff Francis and three-time Olympic rowing gold medalist, Kathleen Heddle.

This free celebration is open to the public and you can also register for reminder emails to be notified when Homecoming activities become available online.

Typically, Homecoming is an event where students celebrate school spirit amongst crowds of 10,000 students filled at the Thunderbird Stadium. This is one of UBC’s most looked-forward to annual events, and replicating the spirit it draws seems to be no easy task.

“I think we’re all trying to find unique ways to build school spirit on campus. And this is one of the ways to do it,” said Toor.

With most of the sports being cancelled this fall term, Toor said a great number of adjustments had to be made.

“It’s recreating all our programs, operational plans and registrations. So it’s been a massive undertaking and I’ve been really proud of the team in terms of the work that they’ve been able to do in a very short [period of time].”

Although in-person events will not be taking place anytime soon, Toor anticipates that there may be exhibition games that students could stream online to support their T-Birds.

Toor also shared that along with this virtual Homecoming event, there will be events available for students to stay connected while physically distancing.

“We’ve got a number of in-person programs that are taking place almost in all our venues. This could be swimming and skating. We’re [also] launching a virtual escape room concept and sports league … to find a way to do some in-person components,” said Toor.

There are digital initiatives by UBC recreation, such as Lunch + Lift workshop on instagram Live, provided for students to stay active during global pandemic.

Toor said the team is constantly creating ways to get students connected to the campus experience while keeping everyone safe, including the athletes.

“There’s a significant effort that goes into each of these program plans to ensure that we’re getting people healthy and active by competing again, as well as keeping them safe.”