The Cambridge Dictionary defines homecoming as “a celebration at school or college, usually including a dance and a football game, when people who were students there at an earlier time can return to visit” (dictionary.cambridge.org). This is particularly true of American high school and university culture. Homecoming events at American universities are centered around a special football game that has been designated as the “homecoming game.” It’s a time when many alumni return to campus to watch the game and to join current students in showing their school pride. Curious about American homecoming traditions? View our previous blog to learn more!
SJSU traditions explained
SJSU follows many American homecoming traditions, but there are certain traditions unique to our campus. We encourage you to get into the Spartan Spirit and participate in the many fun homecoming events. You can view the full list of Homecoming events here.
Generally speaking, a Block Party is a social gathering for people who live on a certain block or neighborhood. Oftentimes, streets are closed off so that people can walk freely and socialize with their neighbors. The term now loosely refers to a large social gathering to build a sense of community. During homecoming, SJSU hosts a Block Party on 7th St. Plaza with free food, giveaways, music, and fun activities.
Golf Cart Parade & Pep Rally
One unique feature of homecoming at SJSU is the Golf Cart Parade. SJSU departments and student organizations decorate golf carts in Spartan blue and gold, and then parade around campus to get everyone excited about homecoming. Typically, the parade ends near 7th Street Plaza in a Pep Rally to cheer on our Spartan athletes.
Fire on the Fountain
Another unique event to SJSU homecoming week is Fire on the Fountain on Tower Lawn. Traditionally, this event takes place on Thursday evening of homecoming week, and is also the same night the SJSU Alumni Association hosts their Alumni reception. This event features food, games and activities, and a show! A stage is set up near the fountain on Tower Lawn, and many student groups perform. True to its name, the show ends with an exciting fire dance–something that you don’t want to miss!
Game Day Tailgate Party & Spartan Squad Charge
See our blog post to learn more about what tailgating means.
At SJSU, there is a designated tailgate area, near the corner of Humboldt Street and 9th Street (see map below). Tailgating happens immediately before each home football game, but the homecoming tailgate party is always extra big with a DJ, Spartan swag, games, and sometimes free food. Fans are allowed to bring in their own food and beverages, so long as they follow the tailgating rules.
Right before the game, students from the tailgate party participate in the Spartan Squad Charge, a newer SJSU tradition that happens at every home football game. Around 30-minutes before kick off, students “charge the field” from the north gate, run down the ramp and across the field before heading to the Spartan Squad Student Section on the south end of the stadium.
So you want to go to the homecoming football game?
Here are things you should know…
- Students get in FREE with your Tower ID (don’t forget to bring it!)
- There’s usually a giveaway item at each home football game (limited supplies, so go early if you want to get one)
- Free Shuttle Service is available to and from the stadium on game days, starting 3 hours before kick off. Shuttle pick up is at San Salvador and 9th Street.
- Clear bag policy: Backpacks and purses are NOT allowed. We encourage you to carry with you only what you need. A clear bag policy is a typical requirement at American sporting events; be sure to review what you can and cannot take with you.
Don’t know anything about American Football?
That’s okay! Not all Americans do either! The important thing is to experience the excitement and energy of being at CEFCU stadium cheering on our football team alongside fellow SJSU students and fans. If you get bored, you can always leave the game early and catch the shuttle back to campus, but this is a great opportunity to experience a piece of American culture.
Want to learn more about the sport? Here are some resources: