Release Date: October 12, 2012
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Picture Western New York's biggest collegiate party of the year. Imagine a mini-carnival. A semi-menacing bonfire. Emotional and joyful reunions of long-lost friends. The pomp and energy of big-time intercollegiate sports. A nightlife of comedy and jazz. Unique food and special events, such as a wing-eating contest, family brunch, a car smash and window paintings.
Now mix that fun and excitement with the heady rush of higher education, where cultivating the mind is a central ingredient to all -- OK, most -- of the festivities.
Many would call it a perfect way to celebrate a beautiful Western New York autumn weekend. The hundreds of University at Buffalo people working hard to make the pieces of the Oct. 19-21 weekend come together call it True Blue Days: the upgraded, enhanced, ramped-up homecoming festivities.
Erin Lawless, associate director for affiliate programs in the UB Office of Alumni Relations, is candid about past UB homecoming celebrations and equally straightforward about this year's edition.
"Historically, homecoming has not been a tradition at UB," says Lawless, one of the UB administrators stepping up to the task of making these True Blue Days an event to remember. "But in the last few years, I've become passionate about it.
"There are going to be so many people on campus that weekend and all of them will have the opportunity to take part in what will be a carnival-like atmosphere with games, prizes, rides, bounce houses, a magician, concessions and a lot more," she says.
"It's the perfect way to spend an autumn afternoon in Buffalo. It's so exciting to think that UB's True Blue Days is an event that brings the entire UB community together; there's something for everyone that weekend. I love the inclusivity of it all."
One of the rallying points of True Blue Days is the Saturday afternoon football game. This year, the UB Bulls play the Pittsburgh Panthers at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 20 in UB Stadium. But that's only one of the highlights in this year's new, improved and expanded homecoming festivities.
Among the True Blue Days' notable events:
Homecoming Fan Fest: Noon to 3 p.m., Oct. 20. Slee Lot A (Coventry Entrance) and True Blue Avenue, North Campus. Rain location is Alumni Arena. All Bulls fans are invited to show their school spirit before the Bulls take on the Panthers. Activities include carnival games and rides, prizes, bounce houses, photo booth, DJ, music, entertainment, concessions and more. Feel the excitement and spirit in the air as the entire Bulls team, led by the UB Thunder of the East marching band, participates in the "Walk to Victory." Augsperger Road will be a sea of blue and white.
Student Association Carnival and Bonfire: 5:30-10 p.m., Oct. 19. Between Lee Road and Lake LaSalle, North Campus. Check out the accompanying video of last year's events for a look at what to expect. http://www.buffalo.edu/truebluedays/events.html. The bonfire kicks off the pep rally. The carnival culminates Spirit Week, organized by the undergraduate Student Association, and includes games of chance, rides, food, live entertainment, a bonfire, fireworks and other activities. There will be a car smash, window painting, chicken wing-eating contest and the crowning of Homecoming king and queen throughout Spirit Week.
Student Life Family Weekend: Oct. 19-21. At UB's Student Union on the North Campus and other locations. Family Weekend is another UB tradition. Every year, families and students reunite to revisit their memories and recognize what makes UB great. The weekend features activities to help families experience college life at UB, including an evening of comedy, an afternoon of tours on and off campus, a jazz coffeehouse, family brunch, Buffalo pride party and much more. Visit the Family Weekend website for the full schedule of activities. http://www.student-affairs.buffalo.edu/family/events.php
Open House: 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 20. A variety of buildings on the North Campus. True Blue Days also gives UB the opportunity to present its largest, most comprehensive on-campus event for prospective students. The Office of Admissions plans to roll out the red carpet and show future students many of the ways UB is a great place to live, learn and study. Students and their families will be able to meet some of the university's most accomplished faculty members on the cutting edge of their fields, tour labs that house groundbreaking research projects, discover student clubs and organizations, and experience firsthand some of the features that make the university a vibrant and inspiring place. Visit the Open House website for more information and to register. http://www.admissions.buffalo.edu/openhouse/
"It's crazy to think that the True Blue Days committee has been meeting since March to pull all this together," says Lawless. "It's crunch time now and the excitement is mounting as we get closer to homecoming game day. In all the hustle and bustle, my favorite part of the afternoon will be to just take a step back and watch the students, alumni and fans having fun together, cheering on their team, demonstrating pride for their institution and all of us feeling the spirit and optimism in the air.
"My future hope for True Blue Days," she says, "is that it becomes a recognized and distinctly special time of year; a spirit-filled tradition that reaches our entire UB community."