A long-awaited event that shakes the university and the community around it is about to happen: Homecoming. It is being celebrated on October 5 and 6, but this year it will also feature additional events throughout the first week of October. Homecoming will have everyone’s interests, and sports are no exception.

The weekend is going to be full of running, tackling, spiking, batting and more. Huntington’s women’s volleyball team will be busy during homecoming with two matches. They receive Goshen on Friday at 7 p.m. and Grace on Saturday at 1 p.m.

There will be two other sporting events that same day: alumni men’s soccer at 9 a.m. and men’s baseball at 1 p.m.

Marcy Hawkins, director of alumni relations, says that these sport events have been happening for years and that it has helped strengthen the relationship between alumni and Huntington University—including its current students.

“That’s a lot of fun: to be able to come back and watch alums play other students and see how they can keep up and who wins,” Hawkins said.

Every year, a variety of alumni head back to campus. Last year, the university hosted about 350 to 400 alums during homecoming weekend. Some alums come back every year while others can’t make it since they live too far away. But there are always new ones coming every year to this special event.

Hawkins says that alums who return get re-energized from being on campus and that they really focus on reconnecting with other alumni, sharing memories of how it was when they were here and how HU impacted them. It also serves as a networking space between students and alums.

“In certain situations, they might come into contact with someone who could help land an internship or give some advice in a particular major,” Hawkins said. “It’s impactful both ways.”

When it comes to athletes, alums who used to play soccer in their time at HU can give advice to current soccer players, as well as encouragement and even post-graduate advice. Students tend to get a more one-on-one connection with alums in those games because they are actually competing against each other.

Other than alumni games, this year, the alumni office is promoting a 5K race.

In prior years, this event was hosted as a “fun run” by Alpha Chi. Now, it was made an official timed race in hopes that more members from the community and more alums would return to use it as a training event. Even though it doesn’t have the “fun” part on it this year, Hawkins said it will prove to be fun.

Registration for the race will start at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, and it will officially start at 8:00 a.m. at the Plex. It’s a brand-new route that takes uses part of the new Huntington City trails. There will be prizes and awards according to the various categories awarded.

Although attendance may change if it rains or is too cold, Hawkins hopes that people feel excited about the race.

“Typically, with a timed race, you tend to get a few more participants come because there’s a training element to it,” Hawkins said. “If they are training for a marathon, they can use this race as a training time to add to—to get into a special marathon. We’re hoping that it increases attendance for that.”