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Fall leaves arranged to look like the head of a wolf.
Campus Life

Look Back at Our Fall 2021 Semester

Take a walk through NC State's autumnal campus happenings (and yes, you're encouraged to go out of your way to step on that particularly crunchy-looking leaf).

Autumn is always a time of transition. Settling into a new academic year. Watching the seasons change and the leaves turn. Earlier sunsets and increasingly brisk mornings. Slowly breaking out light jackets, then sweaters, then heavy coats.

But the biggest transition here at NC State? Our Pack was called back once again for a fall semester held in person. This formerly sleepy campus has returned to its full bustle — and just in time to spend the final stretch of 2021 together, reunited in our favorite place.

Two people sitting by side on an outdoor bench, looking over a notebook.
Bright red leaves surround a volleyball court on NC State's campus.
A single red leaf on the ground.
The sun shines through the trees on the Court of North Carolina on a fall day.

Check out some of the peak moments from our fall 2021 semester.


On Oct. 14, Reynolds Coliseum hosted a double-feature event. Primetime With the Pack kicked off the men’s and women’s basketball seasons in style with contests, performances and special appearances from student-athletes. Then, artists Yung Gravy and Duckwrth took over the stage for the packHOWL concert, hosted by our University Activities Board.

A women's basketball team player stands in front of a crowd.
A man in a red shirt with the NC State logo plays the drums. Another man in a red shirt plays the trombone.
An NC State basketball player dunks a basketball into a net in front of a crowd of fans.
Duckwrth performing in an NC State t-shirt.
Yung Gravy performing in an NC State jersey.

Red and White Week

We painted the town red during our annual homecoming extravaganza, Red and White Week, held Oct. 24-30.

Students, faculty, staff and friends of the university came together — on campus again after months apart — to show their Wolfpack pride and be part of NC State’s biggest celebration.

These unmissable signature events helped us amp up the NC State spirit all week long:

Chancellor’s Fall Address

Chancellor Randy Woodson reflected on the past year and shared NC State’s bold plans for the future in his annual address, live from the atrium lobby of Talley Student Union.

NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson standing at a podium and wearing a mask.
A student looks on as Chancellor Randy Woodson delivers his fall address.

Pack Appreciation Day

Red and White Week was the perfect time to let the donors who support our university know just how much they mean to us. Our student body showed up in a big way with video messages, handwritten thank-you cards and more.

Two women pose with a poster that says "Pack Appreciation Day."
Two students standing on either side of the NC State mascot, making the Wolfpack sign.
Two women film a video.
Four students holding up signs thanking NC State donors.

NC SYNC: Through the Decades

Student groups across campus sent their best performers to bring our favorite throwback songs to life during the university’s annual lip-syncing contest, NC SYNC.

A group of NC State students performing a dance routine.
A group of NC State students performing a dance routine.

Homecoming Game

It all led to the main event. On Saturday, we ended Red and White Week strong as our Wolfpack faced the Louisville Cardinals head to head in Carter-Finley Stadium — and walked away victorious.

The fun-filled night also featured a halftime announcement of this year’s Leader of the Pack, biomedical engineering major and Goodnight Scholar Sarah Hall.

The NC State basketball team standing on the sidelines, with a packed stadium behind them.
Three people with their mouths open in surprise at the Carter-Finley Stadium.


Students, faculty, staff and community members honored the 30th anniversary of NC State’s African American Cultural Center during the center’s annual Harambee! event. Held on Oct. 29 at Harris Field, the block party and showcase featured music, food trucks, games and more.

Four students playing Jenga.
Two students raising their hands and touching their fingers together.
A group of students playing with a frisbee.
Students checking in to the Harambee event.

Veterans Day 5K

Bright and early on Veterans Day, NC State’s Army ROTC program and Jeffrey Wright Military and Veteran Services sponsored a 5K run. Afterward, attendees headed to the Memorial Belltower for a ceremony to honor those who have served.

A group of NC State students in matching clothes running at nighttime.
Four ROTC cadets standing together in uniform.
Four people wearing kilts and playing bagpipes.

More Semester Highlights

Whether it was in the classroom, on the dance floor or off campus, our Wolfpack found plenty more ways to make the fall 2021 semester memorable.

Changing Colors

Who knew that a tree could gain a cult following?

Nestled between Park Shops and Page Hall, there’s a beloved ginkgo tree (now dubbed “The Tree”) that has captured the hearts of our Wolfpack with its magnificent fall transformation.

Good news for leaf-peepers: We’re sharing the latest-breaking updates as The Tree changes colors over on NC State’s Instagram page. Be sure to follow along with us.

A fan-shaped yellow leaf falling from the ginkgo tree on NC State's campus.
Nov. 18, 2020: When these leaves start to hit the ground, it’s a surefire sign that fall is afoot.
The ginkgo tree on NC State's campus with green leaves.
The ginkgo tree on NC State's campus with yellow leaves.
The ginkgo tree on NC State's campus with yellow leaves.
Nov. 30, 2020: The Tree in all its golden glory.