Football fans bring it home

Homecoming weekend at VTSU Castleton offered a mix of tailgating fun before the football game from balloons to barbeque.

Sept. 16 was a day for the books at Vermont State University at Castleton.   

The Hoff Hall lot has been transformed.   

Seas of green, grills being lit, and smell of great American football in the air.   

Before the football game started at 1 p.m. everyone was preparing for it by eating good food and chatting by their cars.   

“You know corn hole, die, cup pong, maybe even a few drinks. I’m mostly just having fun with my friends and meeting other friends and their families” says student Ogyen Anak when asked what his favorite part about homecoming is.   

Out in the pavilion there were a variety of games and activities going on.   

Once the game started everyone headed out to Dave Wolk Stadium. The stands were buzzing with energy as the game began.   

At halftime, people headed back to Hoff Lot to continue the homecoming festivities.   

Alum Zach Cluett was perched in his familiar spot behind the DJ booth.  

Students all over loved the community environment of homecoming and tailgating.   

“Everyone’s so friendly, you can talk to anyone. You can walk up to any stand, and they’ll give you food or drinks” says student Jade Jamieson.   

Alumni play a huge role in the spirit of homecoming.   

“What we love about it is seeing all the families and players you used to play with and a lot of them are here,” said Sue, mother of alum Tony Arsenault.   

“My mom is an alum, and then my two siblings came here, so it just really brings back a lot of memories from my childhood when I came here for my sibling’s homecoming,” Jamieson said. “It just always has an important meaning to all of us. It goes deep. It goes way back in the history.”      

But while spectators get to enjoy tailgating, dancing, having good food and drink, the day is a little bit different for the players.   

“I really don’t experience homecoming a lot since I’m always having a game on homecoming. So, for me it’s just gameday, rival team Norwich, and just wanting to beat them,” said Walter Lundstrom. “It’s almost just like another game but it’s a little bit bigger just because it is our rivals. But for the most part I only see the athlete part of homecoming.”   

But teammate Davin McIver feels differently.   

“As a football team, this is a pretty big day for us. Even though we lost today were still sticking together and I think overall it brings our campus life together,” he said. “Even with this merger I think our homecomings are special because we have a big football game.” 

People expressed so much Castleton pride at homecoming. Something that hasn’t had this much prevalence in a while.   

   “Everyone loves the campus. Everyone loves how fun it is. Everyone’s very welcoming. We’re Spartans. We’re Castleton,” said Doreen Comeau, mother of student Jason Comeau, who has been coming to homecoming weekend since 2020.   

“The tailgate culture has become family to us,” said Tim Arsenault, Sue’s husband. “This is the best thing that Vermont has going for it, and I would hate for politics to screw it up depending upon the future of what they’re going to do with Vermont State University.”   

With conversation of Castleton pride being spoken, many had comments on the merger and Vermont State University.   

“Everyone’s very welcoming. We’re Spartans. We’re Castleton. I don’t like Miami Vice 1980s colors,” Comeau said.   

“I love the culture that Castleton shows. I mean Vermont State University now, but I mean, at the end of the day it’s Castleton,” Anak said. “Homecoming weekend is all about I think the Castleton culture. I think that’s the main reason for it.”  

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