Get in the Spartan spirit for Homecoming, Alumni and Family Weekend

Today kicks off what is traditionally one of the busiest, most exciting weeks of the school year: Homecoming. And this year, Case Western Reserve University is kicking it up a notch, with spirited events, educational programs and the grand opening of the neighborhood’s newest addition, Uptown.

For the first time, Case Western Reserve will hold Homecoming, Alumni Weekend and Family Weekend in conjunction with each other. This year’s festivities will be a mix of Case Western Reserve traditions, such as the Homecoming parade and football game, as well as exciting new events, like Thursday’s Blue Block Party.

Homecoming week officially begins today at noon with Spartan Spiritfest at Thwing Center, during which time members of the homecoming court will be announced and introduced to the voters.

Throughout the week, each undergraduate class will hold their own events, such as the senior class’s Powder Puff Rally Monday evening, a s’mores night with the Class of 2014 Tuesday, a beach volleyball game with the Class of 2015 Thursday and a picnic for first-year students Friday.

The week also includes a series of athletic events: On Wednesday night, the women of the junior and senior classes will face off in the annual Powder Puff Football game at 9 p.m. in the North Residential Village stadium, and Saturday morning, the Stephanie Tubbs-Jones 5K Race for Education begins at 9 a.m. Students and other members of the campus community then are invited to walk in the annual Homecoming Parade, which begins Saturday at 11 a.m., before heading to the Spartan men’s football game, which kicks off against Wittenberg College at 1 p.m.

In addition to these perennial favorites, there will be a variety of new events that aim to connect current and former students of all ages, as well as their families.

Thursday night, the university will host Blue Block Party, a dynamic street festival at the university’s Toby’s Plaza (at Mayfield Road and Euclid Avenue). During the event, there will be an official ribbon-cutting for Uptown and Toby’s Plaza beginning at 7 p.m., followed by an evening of public activities that showcase the new Uptown from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Guests are encouraged to show their Spartan spirit by dressing in creative blue attire while they enjoy music, food, interactive displays and special offers from new Uptown retailers including Cleveland’s own Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream, Constantino’s Market and ABC the Tavern.

Then, on Friday, in partnership with each of the schools and the college, The Alumni Association of Case Western Reserve University will present THINK Forums, a series of thought-provoking seminars featuring everything from a conversation with Mad Men star Rich Sommer (GRS ’04, theater), a special presentation by internationally known food writer and chef Michael Ruhlman and a panel discussion on the 2011 uprisings in the Middle East. Friday also features the All-Alumni Luncheon, honoring the university’s Grand Class alumni, and The Grand Lecture: A Dramatic Breakthrough in the Quest to Treat Alzheimer’s Disease featuring Gary Landreth and Paige Cramer.

To close out the week, students, alumni, employees and families are invited to attend the seventh annual Stephanie Tubbs-Jones GospelFest Concert Celebration at John Hay High School on Sunday to hear the rich heritage of gospel music in Cleveland. Afterward, undergraduate students can attend the University Program Board’s fall concert featuring national act B.o.B.

This is just a sampling of the more than 100 events planned for members of the campus community, so check the calendars online at and to show your Spartan spirit.