Every year colleges and universities look forward to their annual Homecoming celebration as a chance to come together on campus for an athletic event, food, fun, and other activities.
This year the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancelation or postponement of homecoming celebrations across the nation. Felician University also canceled its on-ground fall celebration, moving ahead instead with a Homecoming that was held 100% online on Saturday October 3!
Ever the optimist, Diane Sedlmeir, Director of Alumni Engagement for Felcian, took the challenge of running a virtual Homecoming to heart and ran with it, organizing everything from school reunions, to virtual food and wine presentations, academic trivia contests, and bingo games.
At the reunion for the School of Education educators shared stories of their experiences teaching in the time of COVID-10. Dean Stephanie McGowan talked about a variety of things happening at the School of Ed including, “Building strategic partnerships with universities, and with school districts that are really committed to effecting change for the uniquely abled population.”
Felician Alum Ty Acosta provided entertainment with a free online concert of his Christian music including songs like Jesus is Born which is on his CD We are Sent coming out in November.
Technically there was no food or drink at the virtual homecoming but there were plenty of chances to win gift certificates to North Jersey restaurants and wine shops.
Kate Inserra is Director of Operations for Skopos Hospitality Group which owns and operates four North Jersey eateries, including Cowan’s Public in Nutley, The Barrow House in Clifton, The Vanguard in Harrison, and Franklin Social - Tavern & Garden in Jersey City. She says the goal of the Skopos group is to bring a fresh take to the food and beverage industry in northern New Jersey with a philosophy, “Centered around providing exceptional hospitality and spaces that offer escapes from daily life and are complemented by unique food and beverage programs.”
A short food discussion was held covering topics from spice saffron to wasabi horseradish, then it was time for food related trivia with the top “foodie” winning a gift certificate to the Barrow House in Clifton.
And because it’s nice to sometimes have a little wine with your meal there was also wine trivia with Josh Greenstein from Inserra Wine & Liquors which has stores in Lodi, Wallington, Hoboken Lyndhurst, Bayonne, Jersey City, Northvale, Emerson, Hillsdale, and Stoney Point, NY, and a Store in Wayne set to open next year.
Alums were encouraged to sip their wine at home joining in on Greenstein’s online wine descriptions, and talk about food and wine pairings, and the four S’s of wine tasting, “seeing it, which is what we’re doing right now, next is sniffing it, then sipping, and then savoring it,” said Greenstein.
Then came the trivia contest with questions such as the best way to hold a wine glass, and what is the perfect temperature for a white wine, with the winner receiving a $25 Inserra Liquors gift certificate.
And because a party isn’t complete without a little music Felician Alum Ty Acosta provided entertainment with a free online concert of his Christian music. Acosta whose new CD We Are Sent is coming out in November performed some of his original work including, Jesus is Born, and The Gift of the Holy Spirit. Acosta told those on the Homecoming zoom call that he enjoys giving back to Felician, a school he appreciated for its local feel and, “Small teacher to student ratio.”
And even though there was no big game to anchor the Homecoming event there was still some sports talk with Mark Mentone, Director of Sports Information for Felician who presented a trivia contest centered on Felician University Athletes.
There was the chance for participants to play virtual bingo with prices including a grand prize of an Apple AirPod Pro worth $250. Sedlmeir looks forward to next year’s Homecoming when hopefully things are back to normal, but says she’s “grateful and happy, for how everyone came together and worked with true Felician spirit to make the Virtual Homecoming a complete success!”