According to Sean Pieri, Vice President of Advancement at Colorado College, Homecoming Weekend has many purposes, such as reconnecting with alumni, retailing, and career service opportunities for current students. But most importantly, homecoming is the time when alumni can relive some of their best experiences.
CC’s Homecoming 2013 was a success. Not only was the weather cooperative, a record number of alumni attended the weekend events and gave back to CC.
One of the reasons for Homecoming’s success this year was the separation of Parents’ Weekend from Homecoming, which in prior years had made Homecoming weekend extremely crowded.
In reference to alumni giving, Pieri said that, “this year, unlike in more recent homecomings, we tried to encourage those who were members of the classes for reunions to give more to the college.” This new approach, combined with the heated CC versus DU challenge, encouraged more alumni to give back to the school that gave so much to them.
However, Pieri said that, “Homecoming’s main goal is not fundraising.” Though CC obviously wants its alumni to give to its Annual Fund, the main goal is to make sure the alumni feel connected. This strategy is most successful in the long run because it shows why CC deserves giving rather than extorting it.
“People give to organizations that they are involved with [and] believe in.” Pieri said. “People give to CC because they know their education was made possible by those before them.”
But how much money does the administration spend at the price of maintaining alumni affection for CC? Not as much as one would expect. “We want as many people to come back to homecoming as possible,” says Pieri, so registration involves a modest fee.
However, registration covers the cost of 67 percent of Homecoming weekend, and the college does not pay for events such as the Farewell Lunch or class dinners; alumni must purchase tickets to attend these events. The costs that CC does cover are both alumni and student events, like the Scholarship Luncheon, Homecoming Dance, and the Alumni Award Ceremonies.
This year, the Scholarship Luncheon, which is usually held in spring, was combined with Homecoming Weekend to encourage the attendance of more donors. The endowment from these donors is over $200 million and makes attendance possible for many of CC’s students.
The luncheon was an opportunity for the donors to meet the current students that their funds support. However, next year, the administration will need to plan the luncheon later in the day so that students have enough time to change into formal attire after their classes.
“Tell your classmates to come back when it’s their homecoming,” Pieri said. “Come back to your roots. Come home.”