Every fall since 1911, the University of Wisconsin has celebrated Homecoming. Although COVID-19 will prevent in-person events from happening during Homecoming 2020, the Wisconsin Alumni Association is still creating ways to celebrate — from a star-studded pregame event to the finest flamingo traditions.
“The Wisconsin Alumni Association takes great pride in offering this array of spirited and insightful events that everyone can enjoy from anywhere,” said Sarah Schutt, chief alumni officer and executive director of the Wisconsin Alumni Association. “We’re also proud to partner with the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Educational Achievement to sponsor Multicultural Homecoming, to create inclusive activities celebrating the diversity of our students and alumni.”
The Wisconsin Alumni Association will offer a number of virtual opportunities to celebrate and support UW-Madison over the course of Homecoming week, Oct. 19-24. The aim is to bring Badger spirit to alumni and friends all over the world while also encouraging everyone to stay home, stay safe, and not travel to campus.
Throughout the week, alumni will be able to support the UW by wearing red and posting their pride on social media, virtually touring new cultural centers housed within the Red Gym, and taking part in an annual tradition to provide crucial financial support to the UW through Fill the Hill.
“Every gift has the ability to make a critical difference for UW-Madison during this year that’s full of adversity,” said John Grice, senior managing director of annual giving. “As a part of the Homecoming traditions, Fill the Hill will present a series of moments for us to collectively move the UW forward.”
Homecoming excitement builds though a spirited Friday Night Fifth Quarter event at 5 p.m. on Oct. 23, before the Badgers take on Illinois under the lights at Cap Randall Stadium. The event, streamed live on the Wisconsin Alumni Association YouTube channel will feature a performance of “Varsity” by alumnus and Broadway star André De Shields, an appearance by comedian and host of the “Manitowoc Minute” Charlie Berens, and more of UW-Madison’s most spirited traditions.
A partial listing of events is as follows, or you can visit the website for the full schedule at www.uwalumni.com/events/homecoming/.
Oct. 21-23, Fill the Hill:
The flamingoes are coming back! Join in the three-day digital experience as Fill the Hill goes fully virtual for the first time. Every flamingo on the virtual hill represents a gift someone has made to the UW during this period. When someone donates, they receive a secret link to access online flamingo fun — from social frames to digital backgrounds and more. Most importantly, you’ll be helping the university meet its most pressing needs.
This is an easy and fun way for alumni and friends of UW-Madison to give back. There are also incentives for gifts at the premium level.
— Give $75 or more to receive a flamingo-adorned face mask.
— For every $250 gift, a collectible plastic lawn flamingo will be shipped to the donor’s home. More information is at www.uwflamingos.com.
Oct. 22, 4-5 p.m.: An Inside Look at the Red Gym’s New Cultural Centers
Get a virtual tour of the Red Gym’s newest spaces, including the Gender and Sexuality Campus Center, Latinx Cultural Center, Black Cultural Center, and the Asian-Pacific Islander Desi American Student Center.
Oct. 23, Homecoming Game: Kickoff at 7 p.m.
The Wisconsin Badgers take on the University of Illinois Fighting Illini at Camp Randall Stadium. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, no fans will be allowed inside the stadium. UW-Madison officials and Public Health Madison & Dane County are asking everyone not to tailgate or have large gatherings.