Gathering and socializing in large groups have been compromised in recent years, but Ferris State University’s Homecoming Committee has fresh energy for 2022’s Homecoming schedule. This year’s theme is “Bulldogs Recharged,” for events beginning Tuesday, Sept. 20, and highlighted by the activities of Homecoming Saturday, Sept. 24.
The Alumni Association and Center for Student Involvement are among the key contributors to the schedule, which starts with a kickball game pitting students against faculty and staff on Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m. on the West Intramural Fields. Student Outreach Coordinator Ben Avery said a robust early response filled the student roster for this new event.
“We are happy to have University Recreation as collaborators with the committee, which should be a fun way to spend an evening,” Avery said. “We are very encouraged by the student response. We hope others on campus come by to see a couple of innings or the whole contest since everyone is welcome for this free event under the lights.”
On Tuesday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m., actors Brian Baumgartner and Oscar Nunez, best known as Kevin Malone and Oscar Martinez, accountants on the former NBC television series “The Office,” visit Williams Auditorium for a question-and-answer event. Nicholas Campau, the associate dean of Student Life, hopes to see a big crowd attend “Everything The Office” and enjoy these well-known stars giving their insights on a series still popular with all ages on streaming platforms.
“We are very excited to follow through on our students’ wishes for a Homecoming comedy event by bringing in Brian and Oscar,” Campau said. “We polled students, offering a range of artists and they were a favorite for many who responded. A new wrinkle for Ferris students to pick up passes to attend is that they can use ‘Bulldog Bucks’ for their purchase.”
Campau further noted that tickets for the event sponsored by the Student Activities Fund, are now available at $10 for students and $20 for the general public. Tickets are available at the David L. Eisler Center’s information desk.
Campau said Baumgartner will host a book signing after the event. The book is his collection of chili recipes lending itself to a classic vignette for his character in an episode. All proceeds from the book sales will benefit the Mecosta-Osceola United Way.
“That will be a great opportunity for anyone who attends to meet one of their favorite actors,” Campau said. “We hope everyone enjoys this show, with the cookbook being a great gift for a parent who loves The Office.”
Alumni Relations staff have a busy Friday before Homecoming, as the Fall Reunion and traditional bonfire take place on Sept. 23, said assistant director Ben Withey.
“We will be pleased to honor our Golden Eagles from Ferris’ class of 1972 back to campus, along with Distinguished Alumni and Pacesetter Award recipients, along with the John and Sue Bradac Above and Beyond Award,” Withey said. “By registering for our event, we can gauge the audience for afternoon bus tours of Big Rapids, along with those hoping to visit the Jim Crow Museum and Card/Riley Conservation and Wildlife Education Center. Those events are free. The reunion reception begins at 5:30 p.m.”
Alumni staff and CSI/Student Life personnel will collaborate on the Pep Rally and bonfire at 9 p.m., in its traditional location near Brophy and McNerney halls.
“With the new wayfinding campus signage program underway, it is now marked as Lot 6-G,” Withey said. “The Center for Student Involvement does a great job setting the scene for Homecoming Saturday with this event. Our only part is to be sure that Brutus The Bulldog is there to stoke up the crowd.”
Tailgating before the 2022 Homecoming game will begin at 11 a.m. Withey said Reunion Row, near Top Taggart Field, will feature a variety of tents hosted by campus groups and departments, along with fraternities and sororities welcoming and engaging alumni, students, faculty, staff, the community and other guests.
“Most of the university colleges have tents. We will welcome Ferris Outfitters and the university bookstore to our location on Reunion Row,” Withey said. “Our catering will include a collaboration with three local businesses, Fatty C’s Doug House, Three Girls Bakery and Big Rapids Nutrition. We ask that our guests RSVP online, so we can offer everyone interested in a great meal before the game.”
Withey added that web searching for a Ferris college or fraternity ahead of Homecoming Saturday is advisable for learning the plans in formation for many organizations.
“Having the latest information is valuable to assuring a rich experience, before the game,” Withey said. “Whatever the forecast for the day might be, we hope our friends and Ferris fans are ready for a great day of socializing and fun on campus.”
Campau said they are hoping to wrap up the sign-up process for groups that wish to take part in the annual Homecoming Parade through downtown Big Rapids, which will step off at 12 p.m. along Michigan Avenue.
“We know that in an election year, there may be some added interest from political candidates, wanting to present themselves to the public,” Campau said. “The annual parade is an event where registered student organizations, Ferris athletic teams and a variety of campus groups can show their Bulldog pride and find an excited and appreciative audience as we collaborate with local groups who participate.”
Withey said 1993 Surveying Engineering alumnus Matt Bissett, a 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient and board member for The Ferris Foundation, and his wife, Melissa, have agreed to serve as grand marshals for the Homecoming parade.
“We are honored to have Matt continue his involvement as a proud alumnus by serving with his wife as our marshals,” Withey said. “Matt’s dedication to his program and offering support for the university are fantastic and we are proud to have him back in town and on campus.”
Ferris’ football team takes its No. 1 ranking in NCAA Division II and school-record 16-game win streak into its contest against Waldorf University. Waldorf is an NAIA opponent from Forest City, Iowa, with kickoff at 3 p.m. Waldorf opened its 2022 schedule with three wins. This will be the first meeting between the two schools. At halftime of the game, Homecoming Royalty selection will be announced to the Top Taggart Field crowd.
Organizers suggest monitoring the Homecoming page for information and updates, heading into the schedule of events for this celebration.