Homecoming week at New Mexico Highlands University begins Monday, September 27, and will feature a range of events and activities both online and in person.
In 2020, Highlands Homecoming was held entirely virtually, but this year’s hybrid schedule of events offers in-person activities alongside online options. Due to the surge in Delta, the football game on Saturday, October 2, will be limited in capacity to 2,500 attendees. Tickets can be purchased in advance at nmhuathletics.com.
To further ensure the safety of all students and community members, the parade, student dance, and HU Club Banquet have been cancelled.
The Painters Exhibition, which will be available for viewing in person and online, opens September 12 and runs through the end of October. And due to the popularity of the inaugural HU Talks that were launched last year, Salman has decided to bring them back. The talks begin on Monday, September 27 and will run through Thursday, September 30. Modeled on TED Talks, the HU Talks will run 15-20 minutes each and will allow for 10 minutes of Q&A. Faculty, staff, and community members will offer talks on a wide range of topics from the positive aspects of stress, to New Mexico food traditions, to sports—and much more.
All HU Talks will be conducted on Zoom and will be accessible through the same link throughout the week. The link will be available at nmhufoundation.org.
On Wednesday evening, Highlands students will have the opportunity to participate in the Sashing Barbeque at 5 p.m. in Central Park. Nominations for Homecoming King and Queen are open now and will remain open through October 1. Students nominated for Homecoming King and Queen will be introduced at the Sashing Barbeque.
“Students will be invited to have some food and mingle,” said Student Development Coordinator, Jaycie Loud. “Then students will be able to vote for the homecoming court on Thursday and Friday and winners will be announced at halftime on Saturday.”
At the barbeque and all other events, students will be required to mask and practice social distancing so as to ensure safety for the community. Despite the few cancellations in the schedule of events, following safety protocols will allow for in-person events.
“I’m most excited about the fact that we will actually have a football game,” said Loud. “I’ve been with Highlands for a little over a year now and I’ve never been to a football game, so that’s exciting. It’s also something for students to look forward to so I’m just hoping that we’ll be able to take their mind off things and they can cheer.”
Homecoming attendees can look forward to a range of in-person activities leading up to Saturday’s football game. Beginning at 9 a.m. on Friday morning, October 1, President Minner will host the traditional President’s Coffee at Centennial Park.
The Cowboy Lounge & Silent Auction will begin on Friday evening at 5:30 p.m. in the Sanchez Stadium. For $10, attendees will enjoy a meal catered by The Skillet, 70s music, cocktails, and a silent auction with a range of items from jewelry, sports memorabilia, one-of-a-kind art pieces, and trips to Hawaii, Costa Rica, and Mexico.
The Student Bonfire will follow the Cowboy Lounge at 9 p.m. and will also take place in Sanchez Stadium.
According to Outdoor Recreation Coordinator Joseph Dominguez, the bonfire is a relatively new homecoming tradition, but he’s worked closely with the safety office to ensure that it will happen this year and in years to come.
Homecoming activities will culminate on Saturday, beginning with a 5K run on the Gene Torres Golf Course. Kids will also be able to participate in the Kid’s K.
Although the parade is cancelled, the accompanying breakfast burrito bar is still on the schedule for 9:30 a.m. on Saturday at the Kennedy Alumni Gallery. Alumni can then head over to the Champ Tyrone building parking lot for the Alumni Tailgate that begins at 11:30 a.m.
At 2 p.m., the Highlands University Cowboys will play the Chadron Eagles from Nebraska at the Sanchez Stadium. At halftime, the Homecoming King and Queen will be crowned and distinguished alumni will be recognized for their contributions the university. This year’s distinguished alumni include Maria Rita Jaramillo, Michelle Bencomo, Leon Bustos, and Briana Zollner.
To conclude the event-packed week, the Vatos Alumni Rugby will play in Sanchez Stadium immediately following the football game.