Back to Bates, the second annual fusion of Homecoming and Parents Weekend into one mighty event was met with smashing success. Over the weekend, hundreds of Bates alumni and families gathered on the Bates campus to celebrate in unison the academic, athletic, and artistic hallmarks of this distinctive institution. The weekend kicked off with the biggest a cappella concert of the year that included a goosebump-inducing version of Adele’s Hello, sung by the ever-talented Maddie Mclean 17’.
As Nico Bardin ‘17 expressed, “I would pay good money to see our a capella groups perform.” However, as with almost every event of the weekend, including Brewfest with unlimited beer and hard cider, the weekend was free of personal expenses. Perhaps more exciting for Bates students than the arrival of parents is the annual arrival of the mini cartons of fresh pressed apple-cider and the plentiful sampling of maple cookies.
With more than 60% of Bates students’ involvement in athletics, the weekend was full of red and black-donned families and alumni, celebrating various athletic team successes or, in the case of some, still celebrating in the wake of failure. Parents and students bonded over generational gaps and overlaps at the Tailgate and cheered loudly as Bates Football resoundingly defeated Williams 27-19. The victory marks the fifth time in the last six years the Bobcats (1-2) have defeated the Ephs (0-3) on the gridiron. While football took the center stage, based on locality, other Bates athletic teams dominated in their own respective fields and courts, with women’s volleyball sweeping two NESCAC matches in a row over Trinity, and a win for both Field Hockey and women’s soccer.
In conjunction with athletic affairs, alumni and families also roistered around Bates academics. From a networking event at the Bates Career Development Center, to the ever-popular summer research poster session, to a Ladd planetarium demonstration, Bates academics and student’s personal engagement with purposeful work in and out of the classroom was recognized and celebrated.
Many parents who hadn’t seen campus before, and perhaps begrudging younger siblings starting the college process early, were also acquainted with the Bates academic buildings and classes, while attending one of the various campus tours offered throughout the weekend.
Music also played a key role in the weekend, starting with the house-packed a capella concert Friday night to the small acoustic gathering at The Ronj. Although brewfest ended earlier in the day, the tent remained intact and as the sun set, it swiftly filled with small children, parents, alumni and Bates students alike indulging their sweet teeth with a sampling of autumn desserts. As various Bates bands bellowed their songs into the brisk fall air, parents, alums and students danced together. When the dessert supply slowly dwindled down and the excitement of the day settled into sleepiness, parents and older alums headed to their hotels to rest and Batesies and young alumni rallied for an evening of “networking” and celebration.
The rain on Sunday afternoon signaled the end of the weekend, gently pushing parents and alumni to head home after attending a few of the final events. While the decision to conjoin parents weekend and homecoming into one event last October initially raised the eyebrows of some, it is quickly gaining appreciation by students, alums and parents alike. As the saying goes: the more the merrier.