NIU prepares to celebrate Homecoming: Play, paws, rewind.

Northern Illinois University is rolling out the Huskie welcome mat this month during Homecoming 2019, a week-long event that includes cherished traditions and exciting new happenings for alumni, students, faculty, staff and community members.

“The tradition of Homecoming at NIU is a great time for all of us to show our Huskie Pride, reflect on the proud history of our institution and welcome back our alumni,” said Kelly Wesener Michael, NIU Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. “Our students can look forward to a week of great events and connecting with alumni as they return to campus.”

With this year’s theme of “Play, paws, rewind,” visitors around town will know they are in Huskie country.

“NIU is working with the City of DeKalb for a fun Huskie Pride project for the 2019 NIU Homecoming celebration,” said Jennifer Groce, NIU director of Community Promotion. “Campus members are invited to help decorate the downtown with red and black paw prints and provide business owners with special homecoming posters.” Interested individuals, organizations and campus departments can register online to participate.

On campus, faculty and staff will be decorating campus offices to echo the Huskie-inspired theme.  Participating offices are encouraged to register to be included in the judging.

“Homecoming is such a memorable NIU tradition,” said Reggie Bustinza, executive director of NIU Alumni Association. “We are really excited to welcome alumni and friends back to campus this October.”

Part of the welcome includes a revamp to this year’s celebration in The Yard where the Alumni Association hosts pre-game festivities on the west lawn of Huskie Stadium.

“This year we are taking a new and improved approach to what we provide in the tent,” said Stephanie Poulos, events administrator associate, NIU Alumni Services. “There will be more of a festival feel with a variety of different stations available that will be fun for all ages.”

Stations include things like face painting and tattoos, a photo booth and refreshments. There will be a balloon artist as well as a kids’ craft station where young fans can decorate pennants and flags to show their Huskie pride.

“Representatives from each of our academic colleges are coming together to collaborate and to work each of the stations,” Poulos said. “It’s an opportunity for all of us to unite and show our school spirit and pride for NIU as well as engage with alumni, students, friends and people all around the community.”

There are a number of activities planned to celebrate what makes NIU and the Huskie community a great place to live and learn. Here are some of the events planned:

Homecoming Kick-Off Rally
Central Park
Monday, Oct. 21, 4-6 p.m.
Come together with other Huskies to get into the spirit of Homecoming Week!

Homecoming Pep Rally
Convocation Center
Thursday, Oct. 24, 6-7 p.m.
Join the NIU football team and fellow Huskies for an inaugural Homecoming pep rally to celebrate Huskie pride and school spirit!

Yell Like Hell
Convocation Center
Thursday, Oct. 24, 7-8:30 p.m.
Let’s hear our Huskies howl for their favorite musical cheerleading routine in this favorite Homecoming competition and pep rally. Teams will face off for spirit points and the hearts of Huskies across campus.

ADEI Homecoming Reception
Holmes Student Center, Ellington’s Restaurant (on main floor)
Friday, Oct. 26, 4-6 p.m.
Join alumni, faculty, staff and students at the annual reception hosted by Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Young the Giant
Convocation Center
Friday, Oct. 25, 6 p.m.
American rock band Young the Giant will kick-off the Homecoming weekend with an exciting concert at the Convocation Center. Doors open at 6 p.m. and show starts at 7 p.m.

The Yard
West lawn of Huskie Stadium
Saturday, Oct. 26, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Join us in the yard under the Alumni Association tent for a pre-game celebration of everything NIU.

NIU Football Homecoming Game
Huskie Stadium
Saturday, Oct. 26, 2:30 p.m.
Cheer on the NIU football team as they take on the University of Akron Zips at 2:30 p.m. in the Huskie Stadium.

NPHC Step Show and After Party
Carl Sandburg
Saturday, Oct. 26, 7 p.m.
The campus community is invited to be entertained during the NPHC Step Show set for 7 p.m. on Saturday followed by an after party.

Check out the complete list of Homecoming events.

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