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Clipping of old newspaper on a blue background with the words Welcome Back 校友.

Historic 首页coming: The Celebration of a Century

The University of 北ern Colorado is commemorating a major milestone this year, celebrating a century of 传统, 竞争s, community, laughter and coming 首页.

The University of 北ern Colorado is commemorating a major milestone this year, celebrating a century of 传统, 竞争s, community, laughter and coming 首页.  

This year’s celebration marks the 100th 首页coming for the university and features a week of activities and 事件, 10月. 9-15. Although the days of getting dressed to the nines to attend the football game or participating in the annual Hellzabruin talent show have evolved into different celebrations as student interests have changed, the central theme and tradition of community coming together and welcoming 校友 back to campus is ever-present and timeless.  

As Lyndsey Crum, ’05, assistant vice president for 校友 Relations emphasizes, 首页coming is so much more than just a week of 事件. 

“首页coming is the university’s tradition of celebrating our community. When we invite 校友 to return to UNC and encourage current students to celebrate the community they share together every day,” said Crum.  

“And for the 校友 who live far from the borders of campus, 首页coming is an open invitation and reminder that Once a Bear, Always a Bear. Of course, Greeley and northern Colorado would not be Bear Country if not for the thousands of 校友 who remain in our local community, including the many 校友 working with the Greeley-Evans School District, the City of Greeley, Banner 健康, UC 健康 and businesses across the 地区.” 

Excerpts from UNC’s 1924 “Cache La Poudre” yearbook heralded the return of 400 then 7,000 校友 to the first 首页coming in 1923. 今天, there are roughly 160,000 UNC 校友 who have passed through the university since its founding in 1889.

The activities awaiting those who return to campus this year include class reunions, 校友 get togethers, 事件 for family and friends, a 5K race, a bonfire and fireworks and of course, the tailgate and football game.

“I am most excited to kick off the week with our 校友 Campus Employee Breakfast, 10月星期一. 9,” said Crum. “UNC happens to be a top employer of our own 校友 and they deserve to be recognized and thanked for all that they do each day. 开始 with a ‘thank you’ sets the stage for a warm and welcoming week of activities for students and 校友.”

A collage of 首页coming activity from the 1920's

Yearbook 首页coming pictures from the Cache la Poudre in 1928.

From the very first 首页coming, 校友 have been welcomed back to campus with open 武器. That message was especially meaningful in 1945 for the university’s “Welcome Back Vets” 首页coming celebration. As the student newspaper 镜子, explained, behind the theme lies the loyalty, pride and love that the students held for their fellow Bears who were returning from World War 2. 

“今天, 首页coming is defined in its literal meaning—our boys have come 首页! 首页 from the wars! . . . Some will never come 首页. Let us not forget those men who aren’t with us today,” read the newspaper. “To you vets who can be with us we say, ‘Welcome 回来,兽医的! It’s due to you that we may celebrate a 1945 首页coming!” 

这是 only one year after the inception of 首页coming that a lesser-known tradition grew its roots, too.

A collage from a 1950 yearbook that includes women dancing in a row

Yearbook 首页coming pictures from the Cache la Poudre in 1954.

Some 校友 may still remember Hellzabruin, called “the Vaudeville show” until 1942, an annual talent show that for some was one of 首页coming’s most beloved 事件. 甚至 though many of the most spirited and involved 校友 from recent years draw a blank at the unfamiliar name, it has a striking similarity to one of today’s most popular 传统. 

Competing in Hellzabruin, students might sing their way through the 竞争 or, as was the case in 1977, belly dance and lip sync to Thelma Houston.

今天’s Bear Sync 竞争 could be seen as a continuation of Hellzabruin, with different talents on display as members of Greek life battle in a lip sync and choreographed 竞争. 

Fraternity and sorority members dressed in black and orange dancing together

2022 Bear Sync 竞争.

A large number of students wearing black and orange huddled together smiling

2022 Bear Sync 竞争.

A large group of students huddled together smiling

2022 Bear Sync 竞争.

Three students smiling and pointing at the camera

2022 Bear Sync 竞争.

In 1956, a new tradition was born from students collecting brooms to set on fire and walk through the streets with after Hellzabruin. The Broom Parade culminated with the lighting of the bonfire. Out of this broom collection grew the Broom King and 女王. When first-year students became responsible for collecting brooms for the parade. They decided to have some fun with it and stir up a little friendly 竞争. 

It started out that every dormitory would collect as many brooms as possible, then the women’s and men’s dormitories that collected the most brooms would elect a Broom King and Broom 女王 to be crowned at Hellsaslidin, an annual dance, and lead the Broom Parade from Hellzabruin to the bonfire. 

People holding up brooms with fire on them

The Broom Parade in the 1950s.

Unfortunately, somewhere between 1956 and now, the Broom Parade, and with it the tradition of crowning the Broom King and 女王, ended. Whether because brooms are typically made of plastic now, a lack of interest or the danger of students parading through the streets with blazing broomsticks, the end of the Broom Parade is unknown. 什么 hasn’t changed though is the lighting of the bonfire. 今天, the bonfire is coupled with a fireworks display and a performance from UNC’s Pride of the Rockies Marching Band held the Friday night before the football game.  

Flashing forward to this year, UNC's 100th 首页coming is a culmination of a century’s worth of these 传统 and the rich history of welcoming students, families, 校友 and friends back to campus. 为了纪念 the occasion, the university is collecting as many 校友 memories as possible to be a part of its 校友 Oral History Project. All 校友 are invited and encouraged to share their fondest memories, favorite 传统 and cherished stories from their time on campus. By next year’s 首页coming, there will be a compilation of 校友 stories showcasing the treasured stories of 校友. 

Chris Cobb, ’03, M.A. ’09, Ph.D. ’14, executive director of Student Engagement is excited at the prospect of all the memories that will be made at this year’s 首页coming 事件. 

“I'm really excited about all the things we have to offer for 首页coming week because we have 20 or more 事件 that will really get 校友 and families involved, and not to mention students, of course,” said Cobb. 

All 校友, families and friends are welcome and encouraged to join in the 首页coming celebrations this year. Reminisce on their time on campus and the 事件 they took part in as a student, and maybe even watch current students put a modern spin on those 相同的事件. For all we know, attendees could be watching a new UNC tradition take 形状. 

– written by Tamsin Fleming

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