What to Expect at Columbia Homecoming 2023

Tailgates, school spirit, and a football game.

Photography by Samantha Candelo Ortegon

This isn’t like your high school homecoming if you had one. 

Most students expect week-long activities fueled by school spirit, a football game, and ending the week with a homecoming dance. But I’m afraid that stops in college, at least at Columbia. 

You may not have heard much about Columbia’s homecoming; each year it comes to everyone’s surprise. Student’s minds are preoccupied by either midterms or preparing to welcome back parents (as homecoming often coincides with Parents’ Weekend).

Homecoming kicks off on Friday the 13th with “Dinner with Roar-ee,” followed by a soccer game, “a tailgate-style lunch,” a Beer Garden, and games like cornhole. But the most important part of Columbia’s homecoming weekend is the football game at Wien Stadium on Saturday. 

For many students, Homecoming Saturday starts with waiting outside the Columbia bookstore for a new merch drop. Many go to score a homecoming game fit or walk out with a new overpriced sweatshirt (guilty as charged). Though not as elaborate as Bacchanal, homecoming outfits comprise whatever school merch a student can scrounge up. Last year’s hit was baby tees– children’s t-shirts with Columbia logos–since the University has yet to release a line of (what students believe) is trendy merch. Then, there are pregame parties wherever students can find them, to prepare for hours of screaming at a football team (whether the screams are of excitement or disappointment, you decide). 

If you timed your day correctly, you might be able to catch a free Columbia shuttle at 116th Street (Columbia gates.) At Wien Stadium, you will be welcomed with an ID check, tents of more merch, free sponsored items, and bleachers full of students and the CU band. My freshman year, the only students excited for the football game were seniors celebrating their last year at college; they were the loudest, beaming with school spirit and screaming at the top of their lungs. You occasionally find alumni in the non-student section (if there are any seats left untouched by students) back to cheer on their alma mater.

Homecoming at Columbia is an experience ever student needs to take part in at least once. Love it or hate it; it’s a memory students all share at Barnard and Columbia. If you don’t take the chance to scream for your team, take it as an opportunity to scream about your midterms. 

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