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Stu­dents from Gal­loway Res­i­dence pose with Nied­feldt Residence’s old home­coming banner before trading it for their flag. Courtesy | Seth Ramm

After being can­celed last fall due to COVID-19, home­coming is back, this time with a little twist. 

To replace Home­coming, the Student Activ­ities Board has created “Spirit Week” to give stu­dents a taste of what they missed last Sep­tember.

Although Home­coming is typ­i­cally an event for stu­dents and alumni, this year there will be two sep­arate events to better serve campus safely. Spirit Week will be held from March 1 – 6, with an alumni-spe­cific event to follow later in the spring.

“Really what we’re trying to do is accom­modate both groups,” said Fiona Shea, assistant director of Student and Young Alumni Pro­grams. “The alumni office will be doing our best to bring alumni together, even if we have to do things sep­a­rately from the stu­dents. We are planning on hosting a Blue and White Weekend in May to invite alumni back for a weekend.”

Even though alumni will not return to campus for Home­coming this semester, SAB’s Spirit Week will look very similar to the tra­di­tional Home­coming event line-up.

“The main way that Spirit Week will differ from your typical Hillsdale Home­coming is that it’ll be a com­pletely student-cen­tered cel­e­bration,” SAB Big Event Leader Luciya Katcher said. “We on SAB wanted to make the stu­dents’ side of Home­coming happen during this school year.”

Spirit Week activ­ities will include the tra­di­tional banner com­pe­tition, photo com­pe­tition, trivia night, vol­unteer hours com­pe­tition, Mock Rock dance com­pe­tition, and a newly added “Minute to Win It” com­pe­tition. Each group com­peting in “Minute to Win It” will pick a member to rep­resent its team to compete with other team rep­re­sen­ta­tives in a series of fast-paced chal­lenges, said Zane Mabry, director of student activ­ities.

“We all want to keep this week well-con­nected to the past and tra­di­tional events that we’ve had,” Mabry said. “We’re not trying to do some­thing com­pletely new here, so we want to keep as many ele­ments the same as we can.”

Similar to years past, all dorms, off-campus houses, Greek houses, and coali­tions can compete in each com­pe­tition, Katcher said.

“We are still ironing out the final details of what Spirit Week will look like, and of course we want to make sure that stu­dents are staying safe during these events,” Katcher said. “We encourage taking health pre­cau­tions like wearing masks and will be hosting events in places that will give stu­dents the ability to social dis­tance.”

At this point, there is a football game scheduled for March 6 at 2 p.m., but only players’ fam­ilies will be allowed to attend home football games, based on current state man­dates, according to Head Football Coach Keith Otterbein.

Regardless of the dif­fer­ences, SAB is excited to cel­e­brate stu­dents and organize a home­coming-inspired week for them, Katcher said.

“Spirit Week is going to be a great way to build com­munity at Hillsdale through com­pe­tition and fun,” Katcher said. “I can’t wait to watch Whit­WatWay defend their title from Simpson during Mock Rock and see who this year’s underdog will be.”