Homecoming week is one of the biggest weeks of the year in State College. The week begins with a kick-off concert, culminates in the homecoming football game, and contains events such as the parade in between. What most Penn Staters forget is that homecoming isn’t just about the one week, it’s a yearlong effort that culminates in the one week, and it all happens under the direction of one person, the Homecoming executive director.
The 2017 executive director is Jillian Susi, a junior majoring in public relations. Homecoming is important to Penn State because it reminds us to look to our past but to also always keep in mind our future.
“Penn State has a lot of tradition and history that comes with it and we have a great base of alumni and students that are proud of that tradition and history,” says Susi.
Susi obviously believes that homecoming is important to Penn State, but it has also been important to her development at Penn State.
“Being involved in Homecoming has made me more confident in my leadership abilities and introduced me to some of my best friends,” says Susi.
As executive director, Susi oversees 16 directors and leads the homecoming committee meetings. In supporting each director in their roles, it’s a big job for a student. Which is why it makes sense that homecoming requires an entire committee to work year round, with their week culminating in Homecoming Week.
“The most exciting part is during Homecoming Week is taking a step back to realize that all the hard work that you put in all year has come together and been successful,” says Susi.
Susi’s involvement on campus doesn’t stop at homecoming. Her impressive list of activities was kick-started when she joined THON during her freshman year.
This past year, Susi was a dancer relations committee member. When it comes to committees, she enjoys the variety within them. She has been a member of the communications and rules and regulations committees as well.
In addition to all Susi’s campus responsibilities she also interns at the Partnership for Achieving Construction Excellence (PACE).
Susi admires Penn State for how many chances there are to be involved.
“If THON or Homecoming isn’t your thing, there are still so many other things to be involved in,” says Susi. “There are so many clubs that are specific to certain interests where you can find your niche and find your best friends.”
It doesn’t come as a surprise that, when asked about her favorite quality of Penn State, Susi points right to the pride factor.
“It’s really special that we have such great alumni that want to come back and such great students that want to be here and make this university a better place.”