• Jacinth Jones

Back and Better: HU19 Returns to Howard for First Homecoming as Alumni



"Homecoming is a family reunion, a block party, a cookout, a kick back, a fashion show, a festival, a black power rally, a revival, an oasis, a physical and spiritual baptism in blackness.”

There’s no place like home(coming).


Between Juvenile taking everyone back to the ‘99 and 2000's Friday afternoon and Kanye West’s“Sunday Service” pop-up Saturday morning, Howard’s homecoming beckoned the class of 2019 to reconvene their old stomping grounds in a weekend filled with endless moves, nostalgia (and at times intoxication).


Last year, I spoke with then seniors Imeriah Page, Savannah Miller, Mathew Lambkin and Francisco Joseph about their last undergraduate homecoming.


Although Joseph and Page were unable to attend this year, we checked back with Miller and Lambkin to see why homecoming as alumni created a resurgence of big bison energy. 


“Homecoming was one for the books for sure. It met my expectations and then some. For me, freedom was the central theme around homecoming. Instead of having to mix the celebration in with burdensome classwork, I immersed myself in whatever I wanted to do” said Lambkin.


“We’re back in this special place with all these special memories and special people that we no longer have everyday access to,” Miller said. “As an alumna, I truly appreciated the tailgate. It’s where I had the best bet of seeing the most people. My favorite part was giving and receiving those big hugs that say everything you can't put into words.”


She continued.

Miller (left) with Chaz Westbrooks at Yardfest.

“It’s the fastest and most efficient way to say “OMG I’m so happy to see you! I love you and I hope you’ve been getting everything you deserve! You’ll always have a friend in me!” Even though each interaction doesn’t last more than a few seconds, each one feels so special and I wish it could have lasted forever.”


Reuniting with friends appeared to be the weekend’s highlight. Although only five months into post-grad, dealing with long-distance friendships has been tough for both Miller and Lambkin. 


“To be able to bar hop on U Street with friends or walk down Georgia Avenue and see people you had class with was such a beautiful thing. Since graduation, I haven’t been able to do any of that. Most of my friends are in different states, but being able to see people I hadn’t seen in months was definitely amazing. Everyone was just so happy and had that alumni glow.” said Lambkin.


“I’m big on sharing locations and since graduation, one of the most depressing things has been seeing my friends spread out across the country. As soon as I touched down in D.C., I went straight to the Find My Friends application and seeing everyone’s close proximity to each other was an instant Desi Banks moment...YESSSSIRRR,” Miller said. 


Mathew Lambkin at the Tailgate in October 2018.

To Lambkin, homecoming was also a time for reflection.


“I was able to return and experience what it was like to be a Bison. Since we’re out of that safe bubble that is Howard University, we think about what it was like to be in that safe space and how we took it for granted. It’s like a constant appreciation of what you didn’t know you had and to come back with that point of view was amazing. I can’t wait for next year.”


The star-studded weekend also featured an array of performances and appearances by Da Baby, Swae Lee, Saweetie and Dave East.


Like darty season and just about every Howard function, “the pop-out event featured an array of looks that gave birth to full sets of Pinterest fashion boards.” The time finally came to trade the business casual/professional to neck-turning outfits planned months in advance.


Scroll to see how that alumni glow hits different. 



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