Reunited and it feels so good …

Lauren Piro

Coming home – a time to be embraced by the place and people that infused your life for so long; a time to be greeted with a friendly slap on the back from friends that defined a certain time in your life; a time to reconnect with those who you call family, whether or not their blood runs through yours; and for some, a time still to welcome back those who share your home with you, even if you never knew them.

This weekend all generations of Villanovans will celebrate these sentiments as Homecoming 2007 commences. Alumni will come from across the nation to spend time with classmates. They will walk through campus fondly remembering buildings they once spent so much time in and admire the changes that have been made since they were undergrads – and endure mocking from their children who are now Villanovans themselves for their over-fascination. It never takes us 15 miles uphill both ways to get to and from Bartley, Pops.Current students will not only have to enjoy Homecoming through the eyes and experiences of alumni, however. This year the event encompassed the entire week, including a tailgate party in the Pit on Monday and “Oreos at the Oreo” on Wednesday. Tomorrow is ‘Nova Nation Spirit Day, including the Superfan Contest, and by Saturday, Villanovans will have the Quad Party and Pep Rally to enjoy before the evening’s traditional football game. It is a time when no Villanovan is forgotten. This year, however, one group will be remembered specifically, as the alum celebrate a milestone in their lives as members of the Villanova community. The group is the Class of 2002, which will officially come together for the first time in five years – five years that have completely changed their lives from their times as undergrads, yet have left them still sincerely connected to their University years. The five-year reunion marks the first official reunion of any Villanova class and has been successful in the past 10 years. Memories of college enlighten the minds of these alumni, and they excitedly make their way back to campus to pick up where they left off with friends as best they can.”A lot of the five-year alumni come back for Homecoming,” says Christine Acchione, Alumni Association assistant director of special events. “They always say I can’t believe I’ve been out five years already.”Acchione, a Class of ’88 graduate herself, knows the connection to Villanova alumni long to keep alive and has helped this year’s reunion committee plan accordingly. In addition to the football game, reunion tent and plans for nights out as a class, this year’s event includes a reception with University President Rev. Peter Donohue, O.S.A.Acchione describes the event with eagerness, knowing that the class will appreciate continually being kept up-to-date with the goings-on at Villanova, especially from Donohue’s personal perspective. “He won’t hesitate to engage them in conversation,” says Acchione.The weekend will conclude with a brunch and Mass on Sunday. While these events are meant to be special in themselves, it’s really their undertones that will bring the class back to Villanova. Greta Kropp, Class of ’02 and committee member for the reunion, looks forward to reminiscing over college memories.”For me, what I’m really looking forward to is reconnecting with friends,” she says. Kropp also is hoping to “find some of the people you kind of lost touch with,” noting how the five-year reunion often attracts graduates from even the farthest distances.For current Villanova undergrads, the message of Homecoming is clear: Enjoy college while it lasts, but remember that your classmates and memories will always be there in the years after. For the Class of 2002, this sentiment will be at its boldest and truest this weekend.