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Students and Alumni celebrate Homecoming at Quakerfest Credit: Christina Prudencio

Penn alumni from around the world will return to campus this weekend for Homecoming and will be met by a relatively new experience that aims to appeal to alumni of all ages and interests.

Although the football game is the highlight of the weekend, Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations Hoopes Wampler said this is the seventh year of the “new and enhanced program” — a schedule of events that includes more artistic and cultural offerings and attempts to appeal to alumni who may not be interested in football.

“We kind of reinvented homecoming,” Wampler said. “We injected it with a lot more arts and cultural events, featuring museums, the galleries, some of the schools, performances [and] student groups.”

Planning for the weekend involves extensive preparation, and it includes a 50-person volunteer committee of alumni of all ages and backgrounds which collaborates with the administration to prepare and promote Homecoming events.

In recent years, Wampler said, Homecoming has drawn a wider group of alumni from across the country and around the world. Previously, its attendees tended to be alumni who lived in the region. Now, alumni are coming for multiple events and staying the whole weekend, he said.

The overall mission of Homecoming is to “keep alumni engaged and connected to the University,” Wampler said.

Through Homecoming and other initiatives, Penn tailors its alumni engagement efforts to different age groups. One program, yPenn, is aimed at young alumni and will hold an evening event in Houston Hall’s Bodek Lounge on Nov. 7. Fundraising efforts, similarly, attempt to address the varying needs and interests of different alumni.

Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations John Zeller emphasized the importance of working to make events for young alumni accessible. “It’s really sustaining the focus on the constituency and what their needs are, because they change,” he said, adding that the decision to hold late-night events for recent graduates was an “aha moment.”

The schedule for Homecoming Weekend can be found on the Penn Alumni website and features speakers, networking events and building tours.

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