More than 1,600 Miami University alumni returned home to Oxford and their alma mater as a part of the school’s Alumni Weekend last weekend, June 8 and 9.
In Miami’s annual graduate gathering, alumni took mock college classes, strolled through campus as part of Miami’s Parade of Classes and participated in events such as Miami Fest on the campus Slant Walk. The 1,600 returners fell in the alumni association’s desired range of 1,500-1,800 people, per Miami’s Director Alumni Communities, Mark Macechko.
“All in all, we had a great weekend,” Macechko said. “I think everyone really enjoyed visiting their alma mater and really their home. Whenever they come back, we make sure to tell them, ‘Welcome home.’ These folks are coming back to a place that’s really special for them.”
While there wasn’t one flat rate for all alumni, those in attendance paid to come back and take part in the weekend. Some paid for food at catered events and to live in on-campus residence halls for the weekend.
Overall, Macechko estimates it costs approximately $250,000 to put on the event.
Guests were given the option to stay in on-campus dormitories or off-campus hotels throughout Oxford. While classes who graduated 50 or more years ago typically stay in Marcum Conference Center, others lodged in one of three residence halls—Morris, Scott or Minnich Hall for $60 a night. For a combined $250 a night, groups of four could also spend the weekend in the Heritage Commons apartments on southern campus.
Taylor Meredith of Enjoy Oxford said she didn’t think all the city’s hotels were fully booked, and Alumni Weekend isn’t as busy as some other periods like graduation or move-in week. Regardless, it’s still booming time for Oxford businesses, especially in the summer.
“It’s actually a really busy weekend for town,” Meredith said. “I send out a business newsletter at the beginning of the month, just so that businesses know what big groups are coming to town for the month, so they can kind of stock up. Alumni Weekend is definitely one of the things I included, just so businesses knew to be prepared, especially people in the restaurants.”
While Enjoy Oxford’s office isn’t open on weekends, the organization has a Saturday ambassador, who sits uptown every week. She received more than four times her typical number of visitors last Saturday.
Meredith said many people asked what’s new in town.
“Some alumni were here last year for Alumni Weekend, but then others maybe haven’t been year for many years,” Meredith said. “A lot of changed since the last time some of them were in town.”
If the guests chose not to wander off Miami’s campus, they had plenty to do.
Alumni could take mock college classes. Designed to showcase how Miami students are being taught nowadays, this year’s classes focused on health and wellness.
They could also attend class reunions and participate in the weekend’s crown jewel, Miami Fest. On Saturday night, more than 1,100 showed up for Miami Fest, which included food, drinks, a Campus Owls tribute band performance, a disc jockey, and more.
“It’s really a big outdoor festival,” Macechko said.
More than 30 current Miami students were hired to help in multiple ways over the course of the weekend, but their biggest task was interacting with the alumni, Macechko said.
Even the weather, which initially forecasted rain for much of the weekend, turned out to be ideal.
“We were watching the skies and watching all our weather apps pretty religiously, but the weather held out, and it turned out to be a beautiful night,” Macechko said. “Probably for the first time in the history of Alumni Weekend, we had people complaining it was too cold under the tents with the fans.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Miami University Alumni Association’s Twitter account posted a tweet thanking those who attended. It also announced June 11-14, 2020 as the dates of next year’s Alumni Weekend.