Homecoming Weekend immerses students and their families into the Friartown community, doubling as Parents’ Weekend. This Providence College event enables students to share their lives on campus with their families, allows parents to get a better glimpse of what it’s like to be a Friar, and is considered a great opportunity during students’ adjustment to college life. This elicits not only a sense of belonging, but the joint purpose students find at Providence College.
While most of the leading events are on Saturday, many notable events occur on Friday. This year, Friday boasted a men’s soccer game versus DePaul University, a casual meet-up for Friars of Color, and an opportunity to go to Huxley’s Hypnotist Hub where Six Gents opened for Doug Thompson, an esteemed comedian and hypnotist. Although these events are all very exciting, I believe that they are too late for families to attend. After a long travel day for parents and a schedule full of classes for students, a lot of families do not want to return to campus on Friday. With some events ending well into the evening, it is difficult for families to take pleasure in the activities planned.
If your family is new to Providence, there are many things to do off campus as well. There are, of course, several restaurants to try throughout the city. Waterfire Providence also takes place, typically from May through November, and this exhibition centers around the blazing bonfires on the river in Providence.
On Saturday morning, the Friar 5K took place from 9-11:30 a.m. where students, alumni, parents, faculty, and staff participated in the 3.1mile run around the Providence College campus. This event benefits the National Alumni Association Scholarship Fund. Although the weather was overcast, it did not prevent people from participating in the 5K or other Saturday events. The Friar 5K playlist that featured past Friar performers was a nice touch that got people’s hearts pumping and energy up despite the dreary day. The Friar 5K is a good Providence tradition, however, in the future it might be nice to see some more creative elements incorporated in the race. Whether it be a Halloween race where participants wear costumes as an ode to the fall season or a color run where the runners get bombarded by Providence’s school colors, there are ways to up the energy of the event even more.
The Friar Fest on Slavin and Aquinas Lawn was very popular among families. This event is a Homecoming favorite, and gives families a glimpse of New England in the fall.
The idyllic fall weather made it so families could enjoy the lawn games and explore the variety of food trucks along Slavin Lawn. Student performances from the student band showcase and excerpts from the fall musical also gathered much attention. When I was walking around Friar Fest, I overheard the band playing, and I can attest to it being an incredible performance that brought many together.
However, the highlight of the weekend for many was Late Night Madness, featuring the Grammy-nominated band One Republic. The event, held at the Amica Mutual Pavilion, opened with student performances from the following: A Cappella, the PC cheer team, the Dance Team, Motherland Dance, the Irish Dance Team, Dance Club, and the Providence College Dance Company. These student clubs did a phenomenal job and thoroughly engaged the audience throughout their performances. It was the perfect amount of student groups before the following events occurred.
This exciting night also introduced the women’s and men’s basketball teams, alongside their new head coaches Erin Batth and Kim English, respectively. Batth spent the 22-23 season at the University of Michigan as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, and English spent the past two seasons as head coach at George Mason University. Their introductions gave rise to a new era of Friars basketball. The snippets of songs as the players and coaches entered were welcomed by loud cheers from students, parents, and friends. This evoked strong feelings of excitement regarding the upcoming basketball season.
After OneRepublic took the stage, the band’s lead singer Ryan Tedder mentioned how his mother was born in Rhode Island. He said he has been coming to Providence since he was young, and has always viewed Providence as a home. This statement emphasizes OneRepublic as a good choice for Madness. Tedder viewing Rhode Island as a home,like the students at Providence, enables families to experience Rhode Island through the lens of someone else’s homecoming, allowing Providence’s annual event to hold an even greater significance.