For the last 100 years at Georgia State University traditions have been made and continued. For example, Panther Welcome. At the beginning of each academic school year, Panther Welcome bridges the gap between new and returning students with one week of activities that allow the Georgia State community a chance to get adjusted to being on campus.
My favorite activity of Panther Welcome this year was the Centennial Comedy Show featuring Comedy Central’s own, Amy Schumer. Student tickets were only $10 but the experience of Schumer’s interactive show was priceless!
As a marketing major in my junior year, I can’t believe how fast the semester is moving. The second week of October means more than midterms for many students. It means it’s that time of the year where we welcome back alumni with activities, parades and a football game.
Homecoming may be a tradition across the nation, but Georgia State University’s always finds a way to be unique. Not to mention, this is our CENTENNIAL homecoming, making this week that much more special. Unlike other universities, Georgia State has a golf cart parade that floods the streets of downtown Atlanta– the heart of Atlanta. Student organizations from across campus are highlighted as they show their pride for GSU with banners and balloons. Homecoming isn’t just about the current students. It’s also about those that have graduated from Georgia State University.
I had a chance to ask Grace Lee, an alumna who is now a counselor in the Undergraduate Admissions office of Georgia State University, what her thoughts of homecoming were and here’s what she had to say.
JS: Are you excited for this year’s Centennial Homecoming? What are some of your plans?
GL: I am looking forward to a great centennial homecoming celebration! It is going to be great celebrating the history of the university I love so much and seeing the student body come together to enjoy the events and activities. I am very excited because I am proud to be an alumni of an university that continuously grows each and every year with new achievements and opportunities that are available for students to succeed. President Mark Becker said it perfectly the other day in the State of the University Address. “GSU is on the rise. We know it but now the nation recognizes it.” Throughout the year, GSU has been in headline news, for being one of four universities named as ‘Next Generation’ University, recently having the School of Public Health receive the largest grant in GSU’s history of $19 million dollars to go towards research for tobacco use, and also increasing its graduation rate by 22 points in the past decade. I am super proud to be an alumni and a Panther for life!
Some of my plans include going to the Royal Ball on Thursday, October 10th. I haven’t missed a Homecoming dance since my freshman year, so I am ready to just relax and enjoy myself with friends. I am also attending the Honors College Homecoming Open House on Friday, President’s Brunch and the Homecoming game on Saturday, and an alumni lunch for 1913 Society Ambassadors on Sunday, so it’s going to be a busy, but great weekend!
JS: Now that you are a proud alumna, how will this homecoming experience differ from when you were a freshman at Georgia State University?
GL: Since being a freshman at Georgia State University in 2008, I have always been involved in the Homecoming process.
My freshman year, I ran for Miss Freshman and this gave me an opportunity to meet some of the best students leaders on campus and was the beginning of me getting out of my comfort zone as a college student to do things I was not comfortable doing. I did not win, but am extremely grateful I did it.
During my sophomore year, I was one of the Royal Court Co-Chairs for Spotlight Programs Board and I loved bonding with the students that were a part of the Homecoming Court and make sure they were aware of all of the Homecoming events and attended their dance practices.
When I was in my junior year, I helped my friend, Ana Grama be the first international student from Italy to be a part of Homecoming Court when she ran for Miss Junior. I was so proud of my friend for running and she represented the diversity of the student body on campus.
As a senior, I gave running for Homecoming Court another shot because I loved my experience so much as a freshman that I wanted to gain new friendships and this time, my reasons of running were different from when I ran for Miss Freshman. I wanted to inspire other students to get more involved in Homecoming activities, and I hoped I would be able to encourage a more diverse group of students to run for Homecoming Court in the future. So seeing a very diverse group of Homecoming Queen candidates has made me so happy to see.
I have had some amazing memories with each Homecoming since my freshman year, and as a proud alumna, I just feel so honored and grateful to have had the experiences I have had. As a recent graduate, I just have so much pride to be a Georgia State Panther, and I have a better sense of who I am, and GSU was a big part of helping me discover me, Grace Lee. Coming in as a freshman, I was concerned and fearful of peer pressure changing my values, what I believed in, and affecting how I presented myself in college. Because people accepted me just the way I was, since day one of me being a GSU Panther, I have gained so much self-confidence in myself of being true to myself. This year for Homecoming, I just want to truly enjoy the events and let it be a celebration of every blessing and opportunity the Georgia State community has provided me, as well as be grateful for my shortcomings or challenges I also faced. Thank you GSU for all you have done for me and what you continue to do for me, to help me succeed to be the person I can be.
Whether you are a prospective student, current student, or an alumni, Georgia State University’s homecoming has something to offer for everyone!
Check out a list of activities that you can be a part of this week.