Drexel University Homecoming Kicks Off on Jan. 17

The University’s winter tradition will culminate with the men’s basketball game against rival University of Delaware on Jan. 21.
Drexel Homecoming graphic with the dates of Homecoming January 17-21
Drexel's winter tradition kicks off on Tuesday, Jan. 17.

Dragons, don your blue and gold and mark your calendars. Homecoming is here again and with it are several iconic events. Drexel University’s longstanding winter tradition gets started on Jan. 17 and will conclude with the much-anticipated men’s basketball game against the University of Delaware on Jan. 21.

Homecoming officially kicks off with the Bonfire from 6–8 p.m. on Jan. 17 and the Drexel community will be getting in the spirit throughout the week with window decorating in the Rec Center Lobby. Teams of students will decorate the windows and other students can take part in deciding the winner. Things continue to heat up after the bonfire, with the Variety Show from 7–9 p.m. on Jan. 18 and Homecoming Quizzo from 7–9 p.m. on Jan. 20. By the end of the week, the Royal Dragon of Homecoming Court will be announced during the men’s basketball game at the Daskalaskis Athletic Center (DAC), and the winner will receive a scholarship.

Co-chairs Associate Director of Development in Athletics Phil Denne and Associate Vice President for Student Life Katie Zamulinsky got their colleagues together to plan and execute the student competition, which sees teams of students from student organizations, friend groups and other divisions of Dragons face off in the window decorating contest at the DAC, Variety Show, Quizzo and event participation. The winner is announced at the basketball game.

“You get these groups of students that may not necessarily interact much, but they come together and have a fun competition,” senior and DAC Pack President Parke Simms said. “Each team decorates a window according to criteria. It has to be Drexel-spirited, but people like to have some fun with it, and throughout the week it’s voted on by students and the winner comes out of that … (During other events) it’s fun to cheer your team on and there’s usually some banter back and forth with some of the other teams throughout the week. It’s always a good time.”

Students at the 2019 bonfire
Students keep warm at the 2019 bonfire.

The bonfire is a good way to stay warm on a chilly winter night with friends and s’mores. Zamulinsky described it as a big pep rally to celebrate being a Dragon with hundreds of students in attendance and plenty of giveaways available. Zamulinsky has judged the Variety Show in the past and said it’s one of her favorite parts of the week.

“That traditional school spirit brings everyone together and the Variety Show is hilarious,” Zamulinsky said. “It’s a little bit of an unsung hero of Homecoming week. We had everything from someone doing tricks with a whip to someone tap dancing to someone who did a stand-up comedy routine. It’s awesome to see the many talents of our students.”

There will be plenty of opportunities to roar for your Dragons in squash and basketball and to celebrate Drexel Athletics — and for students, they’re free to attend. Drexel men’s squash faces off against Trinity College at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 18. At 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 19, Drexel women’s squash takes on Trinity and at 7 p.m. on the same day, Drexel men’s basketball tips off against Hampton University for what the DAC Pack has deemed the “Bluau Game.” It’s a blue-out game — so come dressed appropriately — with a tropical twist.

“Last year we had a bunch of Hawaiian shirts to distribute to students and we're going to be doing the same thing this year,” Simms said. “It provides a fun environment for the student section at that basketball game.”

Jan. 21 will be a dream come true for Dragon superfans, as the day kicks off with the Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at 10 a.m. and continues with the Homecoming Fanfest at noon. Finally, Homecoming comes to a head with the 2 p.m. men’s basketball game against Delaware, which will also reveal the Homecoming Court and Student Competition winners.

“This year, it's going to be a big one against our rivals Delaware, so we're going to be doing our thing, being rowdy, having fun with it,” said Simms. “In terms of basketball, they’re our biggest rival, so we always want to go out and beat them. In previous years, we’ve gotten groups of students to go down to the away game at Delaware, and it’s fun to be a student in enemy territory.”

The Fanfest will happen on Lancaster Walk and offer a space for Dragon fans of all stripes to join — students, alumni, families and anyone rocking blue and gold. Like the bonfire, there will be snacks, games and opportunities to get Drexel swag. Denne said Lancaster Walk is a great gathering place on campus, and USGA member Jakob Timme said he enjoyed Lancaster Walk activities during Homecoming.

“When it comes alive it’s a lot of fun,” Denne said. “There’s nothing livelier on campus than Lancaster Walk.”

Drexel students like Simms look forward to Homecoming as a spirited start to the year and a way to build community on campus. It’s a unique tradition, but an important one.

“I think our spirit looks different than some other schools and I think Homecoming is a nice way to highlight that unique spirit our students have and it shows up throughout the week in all the different events we do,” Zamulinsky said. “We’ve got a lot of creativity and innovation that we highlight throughout the week and they’re all doing it for their love of Drexel. I think it’s important as an institution that we deliver those opportunities. It’s fun, and winter is dark and sometimes not fun, so it’s nice to be able to have something right when they come back from break to be excited about.”