By Katie HansenUnigo Campus Rep at The University of Rhode Island If you are a student at the University of Rhode Island, then you know that when the middle of October rolls around, it is time for URI Homecoming. It is one of the few weekends of the year that the student body comes together, participating in activities and mingling with each other as well as the many alumni who come to celebrate. Homecoming at URI starts the Friday evening of that weekend. As soon as classes are over, friends get together and get ready for the big event later that night. At 9 p.m., it’s time to gather outside Keaney Gym for a huge bonfire. This is where students, alumni, and just about anyone first come together to celebrate URI and all it has to offer. Then, just a little while later, fireworks light up the sky and keep the URI homecoming celebration going far into the night. Hopefully you don’t stay out too late at the bonfire because at 9 a.m. Saturday morning, it’s time to lace up your sneakers and participate in the annual 5K road race. All runners and walkers are welcome to participate in the new 5K loop. This new route, which was certified by the United States of America Track and Field Association, takes runners around the Kingston campus, starting and ending at the Mackal Field House. All proceeds from the race benefit the Rhody Ram Scholarship. You should always try to register for the race as quickly as possible because the first 100 people who register receive a Homecoming 5K t-shirt. Prizes are given to the male and female finishers in the following categories: top overall finisher, top finisher in each age division, top URI alumnus, top URI student and youths, 18 and under. If you think you’ll get a chance to rest after the race, well, you’re wrong because at 10 a.m., it’s time for Rhodyville. This is when Alumni affinity groups, student groups and friends of the University reserve tents and set up booths. There are prizes for the best decorations, best activity and best sign. Sponsored Rhodyville activities also include a bounce house and games for kids, balloon sculptures and more. This busy day still isn’t over though. After the race and Rhodyville, it is finally time for the big game. At noon, the URI Rams face the team that has come to challenge them on URI homecoming. So you should gather whatever food and refreshments you need, find a seat and enjoy the game. This year, URI faced Villanova in an exciting game with their new head coach, Darren Rizzi, who is a former URI football player and All-American. The homecoming game is the climax of homecoming weekend. This is when you wear every piece of URI clothing you have, paint your face blue and white and cheer on the Rams whether they win or lose. Once the football game is over, it’s time to go home, rest up, and then continue the party. Although there are no official URI parties or festivities after the football game, both students and alumni flood the local bars and houses celebrating their homecoming and partying throughout the night. It may only happen once a year but when homecoming rolls around, it is big and it is exciting. It’s a weekend full of celebration and school spirit. It is one of the few times out of the year when all the students, alumni, and locals come together to celebrate the same thing; the University of Rhode Island.