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Otterbein saluted troops, dominated Wilmington at 100th Homecoming

Otterbein saluted troops, dominated Wilmington at 100th Homecoming

Otterbein University celebrated its 100th Homecoming on Saturday, Sept. 16, and used the event to show some support for America’s troops and celebrate the environment. More than 2,000 people attended this year’s Homecoming festivities, which included the annual parade and Grove Festival, full of activities, music, food trucks and school spirit.

After the annual parade, Otterbein representatives planted a red oak tree and handed out 100 saplings in honor of the university being named a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. The designation is awarded to two- and four-year accredited colleges and universities that meet or exceed the five standards established by the Arbor Day Foundation relating to tree care and stewardship, education and community engagement. Tree Campus USA is a sister program to Tree City USA.

Westerville has been a Tree City USA since the program was created in 1976, and Ohio was recognized as the nation’s leader in Tree City USA communities with 243 participating cities, villages and townships, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Otterbein is proud to be recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation for its efforts.

The focus shifted from the environment to American heroes. The Pre-Game Celebration: An Otterbein Salute to Kindness at Memorial Stadium was an epic stadium-sized thank you to United States troops and veterans. It included a 100-singer strong choir leading the 2,400-seat stadium in singing America the Beautiful. Additionally, all Homecoming attendees were asked to write notes of support to send to active duty service men and women and veterans.

The Salute to Kindness is part of a new initiative with The Columbus Foundation to inspire kindness in central Ohio. Otterbein’s pledge as the lead university in this effort encourages students, alumni, donors, friends, community members and employees to give gifts and perform acts of kindness that make a difference. Through Otterbein’s Kindness Matters initiative, the Cardinal community will document actions and programs that help ease someone’s burden, advance knowledge, nurture civility, build community and advance the common good. A website will be launched where pictures and reflections can be posted, as well as on social media at #kindnessmatters. The initiative includes an important social science research component so we might better understand behavior change and other related environmental factors.

In addition to celebrating 100 years since the first Homecoming at Otterbein, the University celebrated raising $43.5 million toward the goal of its capital campaign. The $50 million Where We Stand Matters campaign, which launched to the public in September 2014, is the largest in Otterbein’s history. The campaign supports three funding priorities: campus renewal; access and affordability; and building a model community. Campus renewal includes campus master planning and facilities updates. Building a model community includes providing resources for departments, programs, faculty, staff, and students with funds for research, internships, and travel. Access and affordability provides funds for new scholarships to make it possible for students — regardless of their financial circumstances — to receive a quality Otterbein education.

For its 100th Homecoming, the Cardinals football team remained perfect on the young season, flying past visiting Wilmington College by a score of 56-28. Otterbein, now 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC), opened a 28-0 lead by halftime and ultimately finished the day with 466 yards of total offense.

Check out the weekend fun: