AMS Homecoming plan takes ‘pragmatic’ approach

Aim is to make this year’s celebration as safe as possible

The AMS is taking a pragmatic and realistic approach to Homecoming this year, focusing more on safety than prevention.

“Rather than last year’s philosophy, which was, ‘Let’s have a concert on campus and expect everyone to go,’ our philosophy this year is, ‘Let’s make sure people are safe on Aberdeen,’” said AMS Municipal Affairs Commissioner Ryan Quinlan-Keech.

At a press conference Sept. 6, Quinlan-Keech and AMS President James Macmillan outlined the initiatives that the AMS has taken to prepare for the weekend.

First aid stations will be set up in the area, as well as a station where all volunteers can congregate to be located in front of 11 Aberdeen St.

Water bottles and plastic cups will also be available at the station.

The Lees, who live at 11 Aberdeen St., are the only non-student residents on the street.

Gene Lee, whose parents have lived on Aberdeen Street for 30 years, said his parents are leaving for the weekend, but he and his brother will be in and out of the house.

“We don’t have anything against students having a good time, even if it’s 5,000 people,” he said. “It’s the property damage and all the broken glass on the street which makes it impossible to drive through.”

A group of volunteers, including students, administration, alumni and Kingston residents will also give out water and exchange glass bottles for plastic cups on Aberdeen Street.

Along with those preparations, city council has approved the AMS proposal to close Aberdeen Street on Saturday night. A letter of agreement signed by the administration, the city and the AMS has also been created to recognize that they’re all in it together, Quinlan-Keech said.

As for trying to control the number of partygoers from other universities, Macmillan said the AMS is going to do what they can.

“It’s very difficult because we can’t control who comes into the city on buses,” he said. “But the University has put in a policy that people in residence can’t have guests on the weekend. Other than that, we’re trying to make sure everyone on the street knows the level of behaviour that is expected.” Quinlan-Keech said he expects to see improvements from last year’s party.

“It’s going to be safer, the tensions are going to be less high and people are going to be much more able to chill out rather than being destructive,” he said. “Things are not going to be perfect … [but] the majority of Kingston residents and alumni recognize that having a street party is not a bad thing, it’s what goes on there that can make or break it.”

Jenn Mansell, AMS chief prosecutor, said the Judicial Committee (JComm) has undergone some changes to improve the office’s system, but the overall procedure in non-academic discipline hasn’t been changed.

“We’re better equipped to deal with [Homecoming],” she said. “We’re not going to be any more harsh or lenient because it’s Homecoming.”

Mansell sent a letter to incoming frosh, informing students of the procedures and mandates of non-academic discipline. She said she wanted to make an impression upon the first group of students arriving on campus.

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