Geese cheering for their university team

Give me a G!: Energize Homecoming Spirit Week with These Exciting Event Ideas

Universities & Colleges Sep 8, 2022

It’s among the most exciting times in a student’s university career—and you definitely don’t have to be a football fan to soak up every minute of the experience. Spirit week brings out the best of student life each year. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the school, have a blast with friends, show spirit in colorful gear, and cheer the home team to victory. Talk about a good time! It can take months and months to plan a successful event. What really makes homecoming special (other than a big W, of course) are the memorable events leading up to game day.

Making the most of spirit week is a matter of school pride! Everyone involved with campus in some way, shape, or form can show their support, from current students and alumni to professors and parents. What better way to get the whole flock excited than by drumming up a wingful of exciting homecoming events?

This calls for a celebratory dogpile!

What is Spirit Week?

The clue is in the name. Spirit week is a great opportunity to bring some big, big energy to campus. This period is jam-packed with activities that encourage students to show up and show out in their best university gear while showing some serious pride and enthusiasm for the college.

First, a quick history breakdown: This event actually dates to the early 1950s, when a high school in California created a “Friendship Week” to welcome its students back. It eventually evolved into the spirit week everyone knows and loves today—with good reason. Usually held late in September or early in October, homecoming and spirit week indicate the semester is officially in full swing!

See how Nipissing University put a twist on their Spirit Week by bringing a classic boardgame alive on campus: Take me to the Case Study

Ah, pajama day. A Spirit Week classic!

Fun Activities and Events to Engage Students and Alumni for Homecoming Week

Everything centers around having fun and honoring the school in a big way. Think of it as one big party to celebrate campus culture, student life, and all the good things that come with attending the university. These ideas for epic interactive experiences promise to make your spirit week absolutely unforgettable!

  • Pep Rally: What better way to kick off spirit week and begin the countdown to the big game than with a classic pep rally? Make it extra fun by staging fun competitions between classes. Tug-of-war is a popular and simple game, along with relay races and school trivia. Hand out door prizes to everyone who attends—game-day pennants and foam fingers can be useful throughout the week and will come in handy during tailgating parties and the game itself later in the week.

Stakes are always high in tug-of-war, pool or no pool

  • Show Community Spirit: A big part of showing off that famed school spirit is giving back to the community. It’s a great way for students to remember that they’re part of something bigger and to help others at the same time. Service events are ideal, as everyone can do their part for a valuable cause. Consider helping charity organizations or hosting a charity run.
  • Decade Day: There’s a reason this is such a popular spirit week event! Assign each class a different decade on a specific day of spirit week and encourage everyone to dress up in something far out or totally tubular. Some folks just love to get a little goofy. And honestly, who isn’t here for the moment they can finally rock some shoulder pads and acid-washed jeans—or a poodle skirt and a cute cardigan?

Turn the groovy up all the way, pls

  • Through the Years: A big part of homecoming week is honoring the past and looking towards the future. Use Goosechase to create a history-based interactive experience encouraging students to identify old-school (pun intended) features on campus. Award points for each Mission accomplished, whether it’s a photograph of an old yearbook (easy) or a selfie with the football team’s MVP from two decades ago (tough!). You can tie this into a present-day homecoming event, like a vision wall depicting the university’s plans for the future.
  • Host a Carnival: What do cotton candy, funnel cake, and candy apples all have in common? They’re all standard fare during an autumn carnival! Transform the quad or any spacious part of campus into a fun-filled event for students, alumni, staff, and families to enjoy. Offer complimentary or donation-based admission so everyone can partake in everything from rides to caricature art to face painting. Host a marketplace where guests can snap up college gear and handmade wares, and consider giving a portion of the proceeds to a worthwhile cause or a scholarship fund.

Cotton candy, funnel cake, AND candy apples? Pace yourself.

  • College Jeopardy: Time to test everyone’s knowledge of the university’s rich history with a fun game of college jeopardy. This can be a fun game for both current students and alumni to join, and you can even hold it virtually to broaden your pool of contestants. Encourage participants to wear their college gear. This is also a fun opportunity to have notable alumni speak to the school if they can attend.
  • Create a Campus Challenge: Goosechase is not just a great app for campus orientations, it also makes it simple to create a week-long adventure in which students must complete assorted Missions by a specific deadline. Make each challenge university-centric in some way—this is a chance to represent the school within the community! It could be a picture in front of the stadium, a shot of the university’s seal somewhere on campus, or a napkin from a campus restaurant. Anything goes, as long as it’s connected to school in some way. Share the photo and video submissions in a future newsletter, in news stories about the campus, or even feature them on the Admissions website.

We can smell the school spirit from here!

  • Homecoming Karaoke: You don’t need serious pipes to participate in homecoming karaoke - just a seriously good song choice! Host a big competition featuring a variety of music genres to appeal to all participants. Serve up some good grub during the event, and give away fun door prizes to everyone who attends or participates.
  • Window Painting: Organizing a homecoming window painting contest for your student organizations is an instant and easy way to infuse campus with just the right festive vibe for the week. Ideally, this activity should take place a week in advance to get each organization involved in the spirit of the moment. To participate, each team simply paints a window somewhere on campus with festive and topical designs. Washable window paint or chalk markers are popular supplies for this craft.

Windows, walls...nothing's safe from school spirit!

Looking for more activities that involve the community beyond the walls of your campus? Check out these unique community event ideas.

It's been a tradition for decades—and homecoming will always be an important and effective way to bring everyone on campus together to celebrate pride in the school and make new memories. A powerful reflection of the university’s culture, spirit week offers everyone associated with the school a chance to partake in the festivities. Fun, frenzied, and a little bit chaotic (in the best way, of course), it’s the ultimate opportunity for students, faculty, and alumni to show off that school spirit.

What is Goosechase?

At Goosechase, experience is everything. Originally inspired by scavenger hunts, Goosechase is an online platform that enables organizations and schools to engage, activate, and educate their communities through delightful interactive experiences. Sign up and try creating a free recreational game, or contact us to learn more about our enterprise solutions!


Katie Canton

Head of Brand Experience and Marketing at Goosechase