VCU’s ‘Empire’ Brings New Homecoming Traditions

For the thirteenth year running, Virginia Commonwealth University Homecoming is back, and more ready than ever for a week full of fun, food, and Ram Pride. This year’s Homecoming will be held from Feb. 22 to Feb. 28 and will take on the theme of “Empire,” featuring a variety of events that range from returning VCU Homecoming traditions, such as VCU’s Got Talent and the annual Homecoming Concert, to new and innovative events, such as a tailgate, pep rally, art gala and other activities designed to connect with the wider university community.

According to Homecoming adviser Stephanie Miller, the 2015 Homecoming Committee has been planning the event since June of 2014 and the final product will be a collaboration of the ideas of the entire committee, as well as suggestions from the student body, faculty and alumni.

unnamed-6“Homecoming is for the entire community and we really wanted to stress that this year,” Miller said. “This year, there is something for everyone to attend, and I think that will bring out the community spirit as a whole.”

This year’s Empire theme was decided by the 2015 Homecoming Committee in August of 2014, and reflects VCU’s standing as one of the largest, most progressive schools in Virginia. Based on the concept of prestige and royalty, this year’s regal Homecoming theme encourages the VCU community to have a “golden state of mind” during the week by displaying their Ram pride in full force.

“When we chose [the theme], we all sat down and thought about what VCU meant to us, and where [we] see it in the future,” said Chinyere Onyirimba, Homecoming court chair.  “Our university is continuously progressing and we have the goal of becoming an empire. This Homecoming is all about innovation: We asked ourselves ‘what have we never done before?’ and then we made it happen.”

Due to the broader community audience for this year’s Homecoming, events will take place in a variety of locations on both Monroe Park and MCV Campus. Homecoming attendees are invited to a diverse group of activities which include art galas, service projects, and celebratory functions.

unnamed-8Kicking off the Homecoming week on Monday, Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. in the Commonwealth Ballroom is Light Up The Night, a new event this year which gives attendees a glimpse of the week to come, as well as an introduction to the 2015 Homecoming Court. The event will feature a winter bonfire theme, and will include hot cocoa, s’mores, sparklers and a blanket making event for the homeless.

While the service aspect of Homecoming is not an entirely new concept, activities such as blanket making and “Build Your Own Empire,” are aimed at creating fun new ways for the VCU community to give back. A spin-off of “Canstruction,” “Build Your Own Empire,” is an alternative service event on Thursday, Feb. 26 at 3 p.m. in the Richmond Salons. Student teams and organizations contribute a minimum of 100 canned food items to create a structure in hopes of building the greatest “empire.” All canned-items will be donated to Rampantry, the VCU food bank recently relocated to the University Student Commons.

BUILD-YOUR-EMPIRE---social-media-1“We are really trying to focus on giving back to the community in fun and unique ways,”

Anshjeyla Gunter, Homecoming service chair, said. “Service is tradition here, and so is progression. We really wanted the new events to reflect that.”

Preceding the crown jewel of Homecoming, the men’s basketball game against Dayton, is the first annual Homecoming Tailgate on Saturday, Feb. 28 in front of the University Student Commons’ Floyd Ave. entrance. Students, alumni, faculty and staff are invited to enjoy the variety of food trucks, inflatables, music and pre-game celebrations. As part of the “Grande Coronation,” the tailgate is only one of the various game day events, which also include the Homecoming Parade and official Watch Party.TheGrandeCoronation_socialmediaDONE

Tradition meets innovation at this year’s week-long celebration. Whether the event is an old VCU tradition or a new one, each is sure to bring out the VCU pride in all who attend. For an inclusive list and description of each Homecoming event, please visit the Homecoming website at

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