Homecoming Challenge Brings College Freshmen and Alumni Together

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The Homecoming Challenge

Imagine you’re a freshman in college, when there’s a surprise visitor at your door.

“The Homecoming Challenge is a go-back, give-back campaign on college campuses where we challenge alumni whenever they’re returning to school, most often it is homecoming itself, the challenge is to go back to your freshman dorm and visit the person in your room, said co-founder of the Homecoming Challenge, Dana Davenport.

The nationwide initiative aims to encourage and reassure new college students they can achieve their goals and get through daily challenges.

The alumni visitor leaves their business card so the two can stay connected. They’re also encouraged to donate $10 to $20.

Changes Due to COVID-19

These surprise visits are always done in-person. But this year, the homecoming challenge had to change course due to COVID-19.

“This year, what we’ve tried to do is appeal to the alumni associations on a local level,” said Davenport. “So for example the Chicago chapter of my alma mater, they receive a list of students. They know who their freshmen are and based on that list we’re going to connect students with alumni who are local. The beauty of the homecoming challenge now in a pandemic is that you’re not limited by homecoming, so you can really do it at any time.”

Whether they choose to meet virtually or in-person is up to the student and alumni. What’s important is bringing people together.

Idea Behind the Campaign

The campaign has continued to grow every year since it first launched in 2017. Davenport and her co-founder, Chris Evans, came up with the idea after their mutual friend passed away due to a car accident.

He was always passionate about giving back to students and schools.

“We were just inspired by a friend who inspired us and we wanted to keep his legacy alive,” said Davenport.

Now thanks to the Homecoming Challenge, hundreds of alumni are giving back to hundreds of freshman class students.

“We’re just out here to facilitate a good connection and to encourage people to spread love, being kind. Just impacting someone new,” said Davnport. “So we’re very proud of that and we’re not going to let a pandemic stop us from spreading love because we feel like we need that now more than ever.”

Anyone is free to join the campaign on the Homecoming Challenge website.

Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.


You can also learn more about the Homecoming Challenge on NCTV17’s Dana Being Dana