HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — Now that it’s clear the pandemic will be stretching on far beyond what was initially thought, many traditional fall events are having to adapt.

But, the pandemic isn’t stopping one local college tradition from taking place next week.

This year, Marshall University is refusing to let it’s Homecoming tradition die.

Instead, it’s taking on a new medium: digital.

Organizers say while they know it seems disappointing, they hope being virtual just makes Homecoming more accessible.

“We’re bummed too! It’s really a bummer that we’re not gonna be able to gather together this year. Homecoming is one of the things that we look forward to most.” 

Larry Crum, Associate Director of Alumni Relations, Marshall University
Students sit on Marshall University’s campus. (Photo Courtesy: 13 News Reporter Natalie Wadas)

This cherished college tradition won’t be just one in a long list of celebrations crushed by the pandemic—Marshall University has a plan.

“It’s such a special time, you know, to be back on campus, and an opportunity to see campus and do things with your friends and family. But we weren’t able to do that this year, so we came up with the idea of virtual Homecoming.” 

Larry Crum, Associate Director of Alumni Relations, Marshall University
The webpage of Marshall University’s Alumni Association. Homecoming at Marshall University will be virtual this year. (Photo Courtesy: 13 News Reporter Natalie Wadas)

Organizers of this year’s Homecoming event say despite the inevitable disappointment with their decision, they hope the packed roster of virtual events will still keep the tradition alive.

“We have a full week of activities planned for alumni, we have some events that will be throughout the week.”

Larry Crum, Associate Director of Alumni Relations, Marshall University

Like a virtual 5k run and daily morning yoga classes, and even some limited in-person events.

“We have a showing of ‘We Are Marshall,’ a drive-in movie showing.” 

Larry Crum, Associate Director of Alumni Relations, Marshall University

Culminating, of course, with The Herd at home against Florida Atlantic University.

The idea is a modern twist on an old tradition, one that students seem to be warming up to.

“I think that it’s a really good decision.  I think that President Gilbert has always kept the safety of our students first and foremost, so I’m honestly relieved that it’s virtual.” 

Allison Smith, freshman, Marshall University

“I really hate that it has to be virtual. It’s kind of sad that it can’t be in person but with everything going on, it’s best that it’s virtual and I think they’ll be able to work it out, especially with all the technology we have today.” 

Arianna Shafi, freshman, Marshall University

Anyone and everyone is welcome to tune in to the festivities, regardless of whether you are affiliated with the university, and it all begins next week.

For a full list of events—and where to sign up for them—visit this website.