Putting on an event as large as Homecoming takes a village. This year, the fans who attended and the people in charge of running the event were very happy with how the day went.
Durham Police Chief David Kurz is primarily responsible for the safety and comfort of students and other attendees at Homecoming. Kurz had a very positive reaction to how Homecoming this year went.
“We were pleased with what we saw and everyone was cordial,” he said via phone call. “The routine ran as we expected and everything was under control.”
Kurz disclosed the arrest numbers from UNH’s Homecoming event for the past 7 years. The record reveals a positive trend. Over seven years, the Durham and UNH police forces have seen an almost 50 percent decrease in arrests on Homecoming day, given that there were 117 arrests on Homecoming 2013 and only 59 on Homecoming 2019. Almost every year since 2013, arrest rates have dropped from the previous year.
“Both agencies work well together, [and we] coordinate our efforts,” Kurz said. Durham PD and UNHPD’s ability to work together efficiently seems to have been instrumental in creating a smooth-running and safe Homecoming at UNH. Kurz added. “It’s a success in my eyes. No one was injured, and there were no major occurrences that diminished the event of homecoming.”
UNH Police Chief Paul Dean felt the same way.
Dean also mentioned the atmosphere that came with old friends and alumni returning to campus.
“Everyone was in great spirits and were cooperative,” Dean said via email.
Associate Athletic Director for Communications Mike Murphy also commented on the heart-warming atmosphere that comes with Homecoming, bringing up the basketball team in particular.
“It was nice to see the [current UNH] basketball team combining tailgates with the alumni basketball players,” he said via phone call.
Murphy said that in addition to the fun that was had, the traffic flowed better this year, and fans were able to get into Boulder Field and the stadium more efficiently. Murphy noted that the people who attended the UNH athletic department personnel meeting following Homecoming said they were excited with how the day had gone.
“It was all good feedback,” he said.
The meeting consisted of the “internal” athletics group, which includes people like event managers and coaches, and the “external” athletics group, which includes Murphy.
Murphy also gave high praise to the introduction of the Dr. Pepper halftime event. Two students had the opportunity to play a game on the field at halftime, and the winner would take home $5000 in scholarship money, while the other player would still get to take home $2500 in scholarship money. This was a great way for the crowd to get involved and spirited at halftime while helping a couple lucky Wildcats with their college expenses.
The students also saw a difference in how Homecoming went this year.
“I felt that this year ran a lot better. There was definitely a lot less mayhem [with] no rain and mud,” junior human development and family studies major Paige Johnson said via text, referencing last year’s rainy Homecoming. Johnson also mentioned that getting into the event went smoother this year, as well, specifically ticket scanning.
When asked about how she felt Johnson also felt positively about the police presence and safety compared to last year’s Homecoming.
“There was less police presence this year, [which] helped to make [us] feel more comfortable,” she said. “I [also] felt more safe physically because the ground was dry.”
“Overall, I feel like I’ve always felt safe at UNH events,” she concluded.
Event coordinators and students alike were more than pleased at the outcome of such an anticipated event at the University of New Hampshire.
“[The] traffic, cooperation, and weather made for a good event,” Dean said.