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Don the Mastodon fires up the Herd at a homecoming game.

Exciting teams, chill activities to highlight 2024 homecoming blizzard

By Blake Sebring

January 24, 2024

The best way to adjust to winter weather often involves moving the action indoors, and that’s just what Purdue University Fort Wayne has in mind for its Homecoming 2024 observance.

A “Blizzard of Dons” is getting ready to blanket the campus with an extra layer of school spirit Monday through Feb. 4. The fun will include a full calendar featuring top-notch Mastodon Athletics, social activities, and various other competitions. To energize the Herd as the atmosphere heats up, there will also be tons of food and giveaways galore.  

The week’s athletic activities will focus on three up-and-coming programs that began their current campaigns red-hot—men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and men’s volleyball.

“We are thrilled that the work and dedication of our student-athletes and coaches has resulted in such fantastic starts to their seasons,” said Kelley Hartley Hutton, PFW’s director of athletics. “Our men’s and women’s basketball fans are talking about each team’s style of play, which features unselfish passes, long-range shooting, gritty defense, and fast pace. Fans can also check out men’s volleyball in the homecoming line-up. Most Fort Wayners know about the tradition, but if you haven’t seen it for yourself, there is no better time to head out to Arnie Ball Court!”

It’s been a while since all three teams turned so many heads all at once.

“It’s really easy to watch collegiate athletics on your TV at home or even on your phone these days,” Hartley Hutton said. “But there is nothing like being there live for a huge defensive stop, a thunderous jump serve, or to experience the energy of the Mastodon pep band, cheer squad, and Herd student section. We have all of this on our campus—action many cities can only hope for.”

The homecoming activities officially start Monday from 6 to 9 p.m. with a craft night in the Classic Ballroom at Walb Student Union. Students can fashion a cozy tie blanket or create a stylish bracelet. They can show it all off Jan. 30 during the “Dons in Vegas” casino night from 6 to 9 p.m. in the International Ballroom at Walb. The Student Activities Board is offering casino-style games such as craps, roulette, blackjack, and Texas hold ‘em with the chance to win gear and other prizes. Sporty PFW fanny packs will also be given away.

Students will have a chance to show off their artistic side between Jan. 31 and Feb. 3 as part of the Student Organization Poster Decorating Contest. Their efforts will be displayed in Gates Sports Center, with the top three places receiving prizes.

The homecoming week sports calendar tips off at 7 p.m. on Jan. 31 at Gates when the women’s basketball team takes on Cleveland State in Horizon League action. Commemorating National Girls and Women in Sports Day, the giveaways are commemorative pink T-shirts.

That’s followed on Feb. 1 with a men’s basketball game versus Milwaukee at Memorial Coliseum in the week’s main event. This contest starts at 7 p.m. and includes a “White Out” alert, so prepare to wear snowy white.

The men’s volleyball team is encouraging fans to take part in a “Snow at the Beach” theme for its Feb. 2 match at 7 p.m. against Saint Francis (Pa.).

The volleyball match is followed by a free post-game ice skating party from 9 p.m. to midnight at the SportONE/Parkview Icehouse, 3869 Ice Way. Snacks and refreshments will be available.

Maybe the busiest day of PFW’s blizzard will be Feb. 3 as the women’s basketball team plays IUPUI at 3 p.m. in Gates, followed by the men’s volleyball team playing rival Penn State at 7 p.m.

Those looking to fuel up in between the two sessions are invited to grab some grub at 5 p.m. in the International Ballroom.

The week’s events finish on a crescendo with a 2 p.m. tipoff on Feb. 4 as the men’s basketball team plays Youngtown State at Gates. Halftime will include a performance by two finalists from a Lip-Sync Battle held on campus tomorrow night.  

Learn more by visiting the Homecoming 2024 Blizzard of Dons website.

Our favorite Blizzard of Dons memories