Homecoming and Family Weekend Bring the Royal Family Together

For the first time, two of Bethel’s marquee fall events happened simultaneously, with a full line-up of experiences for Royals of all ages.

By Monique Kleinhuizen '08, GS'16, contributing writer

October 06, 2023 | 8:30 a.m.

Royal Stadium at Homecoming

Royal Stadium at Homecoming - Photo by Carter Nelson '23

Last week, thousands of Royals celebrated Homecoming and Family Weekend together on campus. The celebration included some long-standing favorites—student competitions in pursuit of the Homecoming Cup, class reunions, Royals athletic events, and more—plus some newer events, too. 

A Highlight of the Year for Students

For decades, student residence areas have engaged in a little friendly competition the week leading up to Homecoming. Each weeknight, students wear their team colors and compete in:

  • Cheer Night: the Robertson Center Gym gets loud as each group performs an original routine, judged by campus leaders for originality, positivity, and style.
  • Dodgeball: co-ed teams take this competition very seriously in the Sports and Recreation Center.
  • Men’s Dance and Tug O’ War: the guys kick, they shimmy, and it’s a fan favorite for obvious reasons. Then, co-ed groups try to out-yank their opponents in tug o' war.
  • Powderpuff Football: it’s the women’s turn to take to the field, and they do it with gusto! It’s a double-elimination tournament-style competition.

Student Activities (SA) Executive Director Karina Nelson ’24 is an International Relations and Business and Political Science double-major who is in her fourth year leading campus events for students through Bethel Student Government (BSG). She says the SA team begins Homecoming preparations as soon a Welcome Week is over, and the buildup on campus is palpable.

“There is a lot of excitement for students at Homecoming, whether they're participating in events or just watching,” says Nelson. “Students are experiencing the kind of feeling alumni get nostalgic for as they look back on their college experience.”

On Friday night, BSG hosted the Homecoming Banquet and Dance, a semi-formal event where the final rankings were revealed. This year, Commuters took home the Homecoming Cup with their first win in 25 years. “It was a historic event, and very exciting to witness!” says Nelson. 

A Celebration of Prominent Alumni

On Thursday evening, a celebration was held in honor of this year’s Alumni of the Year and 4 Under 40 award recipients:

By invitation only, friends and family of this year’s award recipients—as well as the staff and faculty who nominated them—gathered for appetizers and a celebratory program in the Olson Boardroom. 

A Weekend of Fun for Alumni & Families

The weekend brought events for Royals of all ages. There were athletic events, class and departmental reunions—including a 50-year dessert reception for the Class of 1973 hosted by New Perspective—plus informational sessions and a prayer breakfast with President Ross and Annie Allen for parents and families. There was a petting zoo, an interactive Collaborative Canvas live art installation, an open house at Scandia Church, and more.

The Bethel Marketplace is a newer addition to the weekend, featuring goods and services from alumni-owned businesses. A portion of all sales support the Bethel Fund—and shopping remains open online through the end of the year. Overall, it was a full weekend, with something for everyone—and it served to bring the Bethel community together. It was the first year that Homecoming and Family Weekend happened simultaneously, which brought an added layer of connection and excitement.

“It was exciting to let our parents in on the ‘bigness’ of Homecoming. It’s such a pivotal time of the school year for students,” says Senior Director of University Relations Jennifer Scott ‘95, S’02. “To invite their parents and families into that felt like such a natural fit.”

“We hope people walk away better connected to Bethel and its people, reminded of what God did during this time on campus—and for parents to see what He’s doing in the lives of their students.”

— Senior Director of University Relations Jennifer Scott ‘95 S’02

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Homecoming and Family Weekend 2023

Homecoming and Family Weekend 2023

Save the date for next year’s Homecoming and Family Weekend, which is slated for October 11-12—with student events the week before. Keep an eye on the event webpage, or your email inbox, for details.

Stay connected to Bethel.

From events on campus—to resources for alumni and families—there’s a lot to love about being a part of the Royal family.

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