Popular Hobo Day tradition continues with large turnout


By Abby Schoenwald News Editor

Bumming a meal from a local family might seem strange to most people, but in Brookings it’s considered a fun and unique tradition.

According to Nick Wendell, director for student engagement, Bum-A-Meal has been a tradition since the very first Hobo Day.

“When students went through that community and those households that had porch lights on and gave them food and they brought it all back to campus and they had a huge hobo meal and that’s really where Bum-A-Meal originates,” Wendell said.

Since the beginning, Bum-A-Meal has evolved. Instead of leaving porch lights on, people register both to host and to bum a meal on Wed. Oct. 22. Students had to be registered by Oct. 15 in order to participate this year.

According to Kaitlyn Kuske, senior pharmacy student and the Hobo Day Committee Event Coordinator, student participation has doubled this year from the 140 students of last year.  

“298 wandering hobos will be bumming meals,” Kuske said. 

There are 41 hobo hosts this year to take in the wandering hobos. 

Students must wear hobo attire and are responsible for their own transportation to their host homes.

Students dressed as hobos will not be the only thing appearing at the host’s homes. According to Scott DesLauriers, the Grand Pooba, the Bummobile will be taken to many homes.

“This tradition was started in 2012, and we think it adds a really cool layer to Bum-A-Meal,” DesLauriers said. “The [Hobo Day] committee is extremely appreciative of the families that host students, and we hope that the presence of the Bummobile, and the Hobo Day Committee, expresses that thankfulness.”

Some students decide to bum meals as a group. Lenora Heyduk, a junior nursing major, registered for the Bum-A-Meal this year with some of her friends.

“I’m looking forward to getting into the hobo spirit with people I can be comfortable with,” Heyduk said.

In preparation for Bum-A-Meal, Heyduk plans on reusing some of her old clothing.

“I’m also going to check out what Goodwill has to offer,” Heyduk said.

Participants in Bum-a-Meal also had the opportunity to purchase reserved tickets for the Miss Homelycoming Pageant for $3 with their registration.

Check-in for students participating in Bum-A-Meal is at 4:30 p.m. on Wed. Oct. 22 in The Union. The students will leave to their host homes at 5 p.m. to participate in this long lasting tradition. 

“Through the years, Bum-A-Meal has continued to provide an opportunity for the Brookings community to feed the ‘Hungry Hobos,’” Kuske said.