Homecoming will look considerably different at Williams Baptist University this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Reunions and other alumni activities planned for Nov. 7 have been cancelled, but performing arts groups will be featured on video, and student activities such as a parade and a socially distanced theatre production will still be held.
“One of the challenging realities of this pandemic was that we could not bring our alumni together this fall due to the health risks that would present. However, we are finding ways to celebrate some of the enjoyable aspects of Homecoming that will highlight many of our talented students,” said Dr. Stan Norman, president of WBU.
WBU music and drama groups who would ordinarily perform as part of Homecoming festivities will instead be featured on video. The presentation will feature the Williams Singers choral group, the WBU concert band, the praise/worship team, and the bluegrass/country ensemble. In addition, The Cast drama team will also be a featured part of the video.
“Our performing arts groups are outstanding, and they have become one of the highlights of Homecoming. This video will allow parents, alumni and others to enjoy their performances remotely this year,” Norman said.
The video will be presented on the Williams Baptist University channel on YouTube.
The university’s drama department will stage the “WBU Radio Theatre” Thursday and Friday, Nov. 5 and 6. The production is a compilation of dramas from the golden age of radio, and it will be presented at 7 p.m. both evenings in Startup Chapel.
“The WBU Radio Theatre enables us to offer a very entertaining production while also maintaining a safe environment for our performers,” said Melinda Williams, director of the WBU theatre program. “We have performed these radio dramas in previous years, and they have always been well received by the audience, plus it’s a lot of fun for the students to perform.”
The audience at the production will be spaced to allow for social distancing, and masks will be required.
The pandemic has also impacted Spirit Week for WBU students, traditionally held the week of Homecoming, but many activities are still planned that can accommodate social distancing. Dean of Students Amber Grady said evening activities planned include a bonfire, a 5K “glow run” and a pizza party. The events culminate with a parade through the Williams campus on Friday.
WBU’s men’s & women’s basketball teams are still scheduled to play Baptist Bible College on Saturday, Nov. 7. The games were originally scheduled to be a part of Homecoming festivities, but will now be played according to the university’s covid protocols, with only WBU students and family members of the Eagles’ players in attendance.
WBU is a private, Christian university in Walnut Ridge, Ark.