Homecoming brings out Lion pride; College connects alumni, students

Spirited students and alumni dressed in blue and gold to celebrate a day of fun and College pride during the 2012 Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 20.

The parking lots were transformed into a multitude of tents and tailgating cars, all filled with students and alumni excited to show their school spirit and reconnect with old friends.

Students enjoy games of cornhole and dance in the College parking lots (Tim Lee / Photographer Emeritus).
Homecoming King and Queen, Aaron Creuz and Janika Berridge (Photo courtesy of Christina Kopka).

“I think (Homecoming) is one of the best traditions TCNJ has that really creates a sense of community among students, faculty and alumni,” said Antonino Scarpati, assistant dean of the School of Nursing, Health and Exercise Science.

Scarpati did not attend the College. However, he has been at the College for 26 years and feels like an alumnus. He said that the School of Nursing, Health and Exercise Science wished to set up a tent at Homecoming to welcome alumni back to the College and connect with current students.

Other tents consisted of organizations such as Best Buddies, WTSR, Student Government, Theater Alumni, Rugby Alumni and many more.

For alumni, Homecoming is one of the best ways to reconnect with the College and familiar faces.

“It’s nice renewing friendships and seeing friends you haven’t seen in a long time,” said alumna Joan Laurie, ’72, a member of Theta Phi Alpha. “It’s fun and a good way to stay in touch with old friends.”

Laurie recalls how she often has to squint to see if she recognizes old classmates, and notes many physical changes to the campus in the past 40 years.

Craig Forshey, ’72, also noted the changes that have been made in the past decades. He explained that the College was a third of the size it is now, the football field was way across campus, and Bliss Hall was a dormitory.

For recent alumni, however, returning to the College is heartening.

“(Coming back) is comforting,” said Nicole Valdez, ’12. “I’m in grad school so it’s nice to come back to a home-like place … It’s a big part of who you are.”
For current students, the day was full of excitement, school spirit and bonding with friends.

“It was a lot more action than I had expected, it was nothing like high school,” said Sarah Brown, freshman psychology major. “But it was a great, first big college experience.”

In addition to food, fun and tailgating, the Lions took on Kean University, but lost by a final score of 34-30.

During halftime, seniors Aaron Creuz and Janika Berridge were named the 2012 Homecoming king and queen.

“(It feels) awesome (to be crowned king),” said Creuz, politcal science major and LDP’s vice president of Retention and Recruitment. “It’s such an honor to represent my team and I’m really glad I could bring that back to our organization.”

Berridge, psychology major, College ambassador and Signal photo assistant, had a similar reaction. She said, “I’m so relieved. I’m so happy and so proud and thankful for everyone who voted for me and believed in me. It feels good. It feels really good.”

Both Creuz and Berridge are excited to represent the College.

“I really love this place,” Creuz said. “I’m gonna give it my all and I’m gonna do my best to exemplify the great things that our school has to offer.”

Berridge believes that the people she’s met at the College have helped her succeed.

“Through my experiences at TCNJ, I’ve come into contact with a lot of different people and these relationships have just allowed me to become really close to the campus,” Berridge said.