Virginia Tech will celebrate Homecoming with a week of activities for students, alumni, and friends.

This year’s celebration will include old traditions and new ones.

The Spirit Rally, traditionally held on the Graduate Life Center Lawn, will move to the Holtzman Alumni Center Lawn this year.

A small version of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets’ traditional flaming “VT” will be lit at about 7 p.m. Friday at the Spirit Rally.

A homecoming tradition since 1968, the flaming “VT” was started and is still maintained by the corps’ Hotel Company as a nod to the bonfire that was originally lit on the Drillfield for homecoming.

The Alumni Association will also host its first-ever Young Alumni Terrace Party following the Spirit Rally at the Alumni Center. The event is open to alumni who graduated in the past five years and seniors 21 and older.

The student organization competitions are also changing this year. Most of the competition will be online through social media straight from the Hokie Bucket List.

Organizations get a chance to win a cash prize, members can check items off their Hokie Bucket List, and there will be free Homecoming swag.

“This is the Homecoming Board’s way of getting all students involved in homecoming week,” said Homecoming Board President Mariame Pierce of Vienna, Virginia, a senior majoring in applied economic management and financial planning in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “We are hoping that changing the organization competition will encourage more student organizations to participate in the parade to earn extra points right at the end of Homecoming week.”

The student-led Homecoming Board partners with several organizations to carry out a week of Homecoming events.

The festivities begin Oct. 16 with the Campfire Kickoff, which includes both a capella and dance groups performing, in addition to a campfire with s’mores and food. The kick off runs from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Duck Pond amphitheater.

In addition to the Spirit Rally and young alumni event, there will be a fireworks show Friday evening.

The display will begin at 7:45 p.m. and can be viewed from the Holtzman Alumni Center Lawn. A portion of Duckpond Drive will be closed from approximately 7:30-8:15 p.m. from West Campus Drive to Oak Lane for the display.

The Homecoming 5K Neon Run, sponsored by Eleven West and Foxridge, is also set for Friday and the annual Homecoming parade will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday. Sign up for the parade here.

Then the Hokies take on the University of North Carolina Tarheels in an SGA Orange Effect football game Oct. 21. For a complete listing of events visit the Homecoming site.

During the week, students will also cast their ballots for Homecoming Court. The candidates for court each have a service platform that educates and raises awareness about a specific cause. The winning Homecoming King and Queen get a cash prize to carry out their platform.

“This is so important is because it is changing how Homecoming is traditionally viewed,” said Pierce. “What we are looking for most while choosing court members are those students who are passionate in striving to serve others through the embodiment of Virginia Tech’s motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). Why? Because we are Virginia Tech, and we are here to serve others.”

Voting for Homecoming King and Queen will take place Oct. 16-19. Students can log on to GobblerConnect to vote online. The winners will be announced during halftime at the football game.

Also happening during Homecoming week is a canned food drive for Manna Ministries. Donations can be dropped off at the Holtzman Alumni Center during the Alumni Association's tailgate or young alumni party.

Written by Sandra Broughton and Annie McCallum

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