2023 Homecoming Weekend Recap: A Joyous Reunion of Alumni

Last month, over four hundred UCU alumni hailing from every cohort and around the globe came together to celebrate UCU’s 5th Lustrum and 2023 Homecoming Weekend. This remarkable event not only showcased the vibrant history of UCU but also served as a testament to the enduring connections forged within its community.

The festivities commenced on a lively Friday afternoon with Alexis Aronowitz’ Last Lecture, followed by a sunny evening on the quad. Live bands, featuring both talented students and alumni such as Merel van 't Hooft '15 of Marble Waves, filled the air with melodies. Food trucks and a packed bar terrace added to the festive ambiance. The quad transformed into an impromptu dance floor, as old friends reunited. Meanwhile, a group gathered behind Locke to enjoy an open air film.

Saturday morning marked the beginning of a day filled with activities and camaraderie. Alumni, staff, and students came together for a football tournament. Following the game, the UCAA hosted their annual barbecue. The afternoon offered a panel discussion featuring Emma Mojet '13, Elif Isitman '09, Jeroen van Baar '11, Sandra Gonza '16, and UCU assistant professor Nina Köll. The panel delved into pressing themes of our time, including sustainability, mental health, and (social) media. From an interdisciplinary lens, our experts shed light on what the future holds in these domains and the session served as a platform for insightful and inspiring discussions.

After the panel, alumni had the opportunity to join campus tours led by current students. These tours provided a glimpse into the UCU of today, allowing alumni to compare and contrast their own experiences. It was a delightful exchange of stories and a chance to witness the evolution of the campus. A film festival, showcasing the remarkable talent and work of UCU alumni (Kristof West ’22, Sofiya Afonasina ’11, Marijn Maas ’14, Abigail Prade ’10, Marius Hordijk ’05, Jasper Claus ’03, Bas Voorwinde ’06, Martin Crasborn ’19, Fiona Wiggers ’21, and Victor Evink ’10), added another layer of appreciation for the community's achievements.

Undoubtedly, a highlight of the reunion was the alumni dinner. Over three hundred alumni gathered in dining hall, which was set up the way many remembered it was during their time here. Speeches from Susan te Pas (Dean), Patricia Post-Nievelstein (Assistant Professor), Thijs van Himbergen ’04, Maarten Diederix (Housemaster) and Kim Donaldson (Alumni Relations and Development Manager) were part included in a lively progamme as well as a tribute to Maarten for 25 years of commitment to UCU. The atmosphere overflowed with warmth, nostalgia, and the joy of shared memories. It was a truly unforgettable evening, sealing the bonds of friendship and community that have stood the test of time.

The 5th Lustrum and 2023 Homecoming Weekend was a resounding success, serving as a reminder of the enduring spirit and profound impact of UCU. As the community looks to the future, we look forward to connecting with and welcoming alumni back for many years to come.