Alumni Village has become Homecoming staple

Since its inception in 2016, Alumni Village has served as the largest annual gathering for Campbell alumni and a fixture of the Campbell Homecoming experience.

Each year on Homecoming Saturday, Alumni Village offers a unique celebration of all-things-Campbell, backdropped by food trucks, tailgating games, inflatables for kids (new this year) and live music.

Every year of its existence, the band Bantum Rooster, has provided the tunes. The group, featuring several members who are themselves Campbell alumni, has never failed to entertain with their setlists that include classic rock, beach, funk, and modern hits.

Bantum Rooster has been a fixture of every Homecoming to date.

Alumni Village, located outside of Barker-Lane Stadium, also provides a setting for gatherings of subgroups within Campbell’s 54,000-plus alumni base. That includes school/department-specific tents and graduation reunions (10 years, 25 years, 40 years and Golden Club [50 or more years]).

As quickly as it has become a staple, it’s easy to forget Alumni Village has been around for less than a decade.

Before football returned from a 58-year hiatus in 2008, Homecoming often centered around the morning parade, an early afternoon men’s and women’s basketball team scrimmage in Carter Gym, and a men’s soccer match to follow.

Before Campbell football’s return, a men’s soccer game was often the featured event of the weekend. Here is the scene from Homecoming 1985.

Football’s revival inherently made the sport a central focus of the weekend, and there soon emerged a clear need for something grand to fill the gap between the Homecoming parade in the morning and the game on the gridiron. The Alumni Association resolved to fill that void with Alumni Village eight years ago.

“Alumni Village was created to welcome our alumni into a central gathering space on Homecoming Day,” said Sarah Swain, Alumni Association Executive Director and Alumni Village founder. “We had a great schedule of events but nothing centered around the alumni who were ‘coming home.’

“Alumni Village allows alumni to reconnect with their Campbell friends and professors and encourages engagement with our Alumni Association.”

Alumni enjoy fellowship at last year’s Alumni Village.

Since its inception, Alumni Village has grown year over year, prompting the Alumni Association to strategically use the space allotted outside of the stadium and add more fun and fanfare.

“Alumni Village has now become a Homecoming tradition. Our hope is to create an environment where everyone feels welcomed and excited to celebrate our alma mater and all things Orange and Black,” Swain said.

“I love the energy that Alumni Village brings to the day. It’s fun to watch people as they reunite with fellow Camels and share memories of their time in Buies Creek. We also get the opportunity to show off today’s Campbell experience to our alumni. A lot has changed over the years and I’m very proud of what Campbell has to offer for our current student and our alumni.”

Alumni Village is set to return outside Barker-Lane Stadium at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21.