Pumpkin plummet

Homecoming invites back to campus some of our beloved Gaels and with them some of our strangest traditions. We paint ourselves purple and sing in Gaelic. And now, we smash pumpkins.

For the first time, the Pumpkin Smash, hosted by Engineers Without Borders in partnership with Queen’s Gives Back and the Queen’s Student Alumni Association, will join the football game and street parties as an event this Homecoming weekend.

Although previously hosted at Leonard Field, the construction of a new residence has necessitated the event to move to Agnes Benedickson Field. With this change of location comes a reimagining of the event as a whole.

“It’s going to be reflective of the past years, but definitely at a bigger level this year, so it’s pretty exciting,” said Kirsten MacMillan, vice-president of networking for Queen’s Engineers Without Borders.

The smash itself is exactly what you think. A 500-pound pumpkin is hoisted into the air. There’s a healthy dose of suspense and then, with much ado, it’s allowed to fall entirely unguided to the ground.

Although it sounds like child’s play, the event also seeks to raise awareness for Engineers Without Borders.

“Every year our chapter picks a different campaign that the national office is running and then we try to work throughout the year to support the cause,” MacMillan, Sci ’17, said.

This year, the focus is on political advocacy, as MacMillan and her peers seek to ensure that foreign aid and poverty reduction are a focus of the Canadian political conversation moving forward.

Political intentions aside, the Smash also seeks to connect students and alumni with the kind of shared experience you just don’t get at other events.

“This is one of the more relaxed events that doesn’t involve drinking, where you can come, hang out, there’s alumni there you can chat with ... and then you guys get to share watching this massive pumpkin drop together,” MacMillan said.

And the drop itself certainly sounds like a memorable one.

“Once we get the pumpkin attached to the crane, we raise it up a little bit more every time someone donates or uses the hashtag that we’re doing for the year,” MacMillan said.

Last year, the pumpkin was apparently significantly higher than McNeill House.

Gourd enthusiast or pumpkin spice latte hater, it’s hard to imagine someone who doesn’t feel a thrill at the thought of a pumpkin the size of a small car plummeting down.

Sure, the pancake kegger is all well and good, but can you really expect that level of drama anywhere else this weekend?

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