10 Questions With Homecoming Executive Director Jillian Susi
Homecoming 2017 may seem a long way off for many of us, but it’s never too early to start thinking about one of the most exciting weeks of the fall. We sat down with Jillian Susi, the new Executive Director for Homecoming 2017, to talk about everything from her new job to what kind of dinosaur she would be:
Onward State: As the new Homecoming Executive Director, what do you think you can improve upon from the previous year?
Jillian Susi: There isn’t one specific thing that I’d like to change, but there is always room for improvement every year! I’m going to do my best to make sure that the ideas Homecoming volunteers have can come to fruition. It’s my personal goal to have everyone involved in Homecoming, from the alumni to the community members to the Homecoming volunteers, and to ensure that everyone has the best possible experience throughout Homecoming weekend.
OS: How did you get involved in Homecoming? Any tips for students looking to get involved?
JS: I got involved in Homecoming my freshman year when I applied for a Captain position. I was selected to be part of the Donor Relations Committee, and I continued my involvement from there.
There are many ways to get involved in Homecoming! The first deadline is for Captain applications, which typically open in January. The next is Committee Member applications, which open in March. Finally, any organization on campus can get involved as an Event Competitor, Overall Competitor, or as an Alumni and Community participant. Registration for this type of involvement typically opens in March. You can always check our social media – Penn State Homecoming Homecoming on Facebook, @PSUHOMECOMING on Twitter, and @psuhomecoming on Instagram for updates on how to become involved!
OS: What is your favorite part of Homecoming weekend?
JS: Homecoming is actually more than a weekend – it’s a weeklong celebration of Penn State pride and traditions. There are events every day of the week beginning on Sunday and culminating in the Homecoming football game on Saturday. My favorite part of the week is any event where all parts of the Penn State family (alumni, community members, and students) get to interact and enjoy the events Homecoming runs. It is such a cool experience seeing people from so many different backgrounds and ties to Penn State come together all for the sake of Homecoming.
OS: Are you involved in anything else outside of Homecoming?
JS: Outside of Homecoming, I’m involved in THON as a Dancer Relations Committee Member (shout out Brady Bunch!). I am also the Vice President of the College of Communications Student Council.
OS: What is your favorite memory from your time at Penn State?
JS: I have so many great memories here; it’s hard to pick one! My favorite memory is probably all the times I have spent with my best friends. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing, any time I’m with them I have a blast. I am so thankful that Penn State has brought me these amazing friends.
OS: What was your initial reaction when you found out you had been named Executive Director?
JS: I could not believe it. I had to make Katie (2016 Executive Director) repeat it because I didn’t think it was real! Afterwards I was shaking and so excited. It took a couple of days to really sink in.
OS: What has been the most rewarding part about being involved in the Homecoming Committee?
JS: The most rewarding part about being involved in the Homecoming Committee is the relationships I’ve made. Some of my best friends are from the years I’ve spent being involved in Homecoming and I am a better person because of those people. I’ve learned so much about myself, about how to be a leader, and about how to be a better person all around.
OS: What was your first official act as executive director? Or what are you most looking forward to doing?
JS: My first official act as Executive Director was to edit and release the Homecoming Executive Committee applications (due Thursday, November 10 at 5 p.m.)! I am so excited to pick the new Executive Committee soon.
OS: If you had a creamery ice cream flavor named after you, what would it be?
JS: Easy – Death by Chocolate. It’s the best flavor so it’d be an honor for it to be named after me!
OS: If you were a dinosaur, which one would you be and why?
JS: A saurolophus because that’s what Ducky from “The Land Before Time” is and she rocks.