Opting out of Aberdeen

OISE Open House

Why three students won’t be joining the crowds this Homecoming weekend

Emma Daughton, ConEd ’11, says the Aberdeen Street party caters to a specific type of fun.
Emma Daughton, ConEd ’11, says the Aberdeen Street party caters to a specific type of fun.

For Queen’s students and out-of-towners alike, Homecoming weekend has become synonymous with the Aberdeen Street party, an annual gathering that drew an estimated 4,000 to 6,500 people to the street last year.

But in spite of the notoriety of the event, some students choose to ignore the Homecoming hype and find alternative means to occupy themselves.

Emma Daughton, ConEd ’11, helped organize the Alternative Homecoming Concert and Dance Party at the Grad Club on Saturday. The event is being hosted by the Education on Queer Issues Project (EQuIP) as the conclusion to Queerientation. Daughton said EQuIP has been hosting a Queerientation dance party every year since the early 90s.

Daughton said EQuIP wants to offer a productive alternative to the Aberdeen Street party.

“It gave us an opportunity to express our dislike of that aspect of the Queen’s Homecoming tradition,” she said.

Daughton said she hopes the evening will attract attendees who might not come to other EQuIP events.

“The Aberdeen street party is … something that the Queen’s community is trying to move away from. It caters to a very specific kind of fun. … There’s no music, there’s no art. We just felt like it wasn’t creating anything positive.”

Daughton said she expects the turnout at the dance party will be larger than in years past because people will be looking for somewhere to go on Saturday other than Aberdeen Street.

Daughton said the dance party is more of a destination.

“It’s going out; it’s not just gratuitous drinking.”

This is the first year the event will be a combined concert and dance party. The featured band is Toronto’s Stop Drop N Skank.

“It’s ska-influenced, high-energy dance music with a horn section,” Daughton said.

Joanna Werner, ConEd ’11, s,es opting out of Homecoming as a matter of faith. Instead of going to the street party, Werner is attending “Summit,” a religious retreat sponsored by Campus for Christ at Lakeside Pentecostal Camp in Cobourg.

“We planned our retreat not as an alternative to it. ... It just happened to coincide with that weekend,”she said.

Werner said she would not be attending the street party even if she was in Kingston this weekend.

“I would probably be doing other things that would personally interest me.” she said. “Last year … I was actually studying that night.

“It was the only time that I had to study for the week.”

Werner said she doesn’t feel as though Aberdeen should overshadow Homecoming as a whole.

“There’s way more to Homecoming than just the Aberdeen party,” she said.

“Queen’s has such good school spirit; that encourages the quantity of people returning.”

Werner said even though she’s skipping the gathering herself, she has many friends who will be on Aberdeen Street on Saturday.

“I have a lot of friends who are [going]; I guess it’s something they have personally chosen to do. … It’s not like that’s something out of the ordinary.”

Men’s hockey team captain Jon Lawrance, ArtSci ’11, doesn’t get to choose whether he’ll go to Aberdeen. But he said there’s nothing special about the event anyway.

He’s missing Homecoming because of his team’s away schedule. This weekend marks the team’s first road-trip of the year for a three-game exhibition series against Acadia University in Wolfville, NS.

“While Homecoming is great, I guess, it’s just another excuse to party. It’s a bigger version of something that we do all year anyways,” he said.

Lawrance said he was disappointed after attending the street party for the first time last year.

“It was an experience. It gets really built out of proportion. It wasn’t as outrageous as I thought it would be.” he said. “ It seemed a lot more organized than I thought it would be.” Lawrance said he’d rather be playing hockey.

“For me, it’s a good trade-off. We didn’t even do this last year, so it’s something that we don’t get to do very often. During the year we don’t play [Acadia] at all.”

The EQuIP Alternative Homecoming Concert and Dance Party will be held at 9 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27 at the Grad Club. Cover is $5 or pay what you can.

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