Reunion missing students

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Illustration by Janghan Hong

Over 1,000 alumni returned to Queen’s last weekend to celebrate Spring Reunion.

Since its inception, the event has slowly grown in popularity and size, raising the question of whether or not the reunion will become a replacement or simply an alternative to Homecoming. The fall event has typically drawn around 6,000 alumni each year, far more than Spring Reunion.

With Homecoming facing an uncertain future, the Spring Reunion was created in 2009 as an alternative chance for alumni to return to their alma mater.

There are definite pros to the reunion that must be considered. When over 1,000 alumni come to town for a weekend, there is a healthy shot of capital into Kingston’s tourism industry and local businesses reap the benefits.

The majority of students have left Kingston for the summer, shifting the focus away from alumni-student interaction. Instead, alumni can catch up with old friends and relive their time at Queen’s on a

much quieter campus. Spring Reunion though is fundamentally unable to replace Homecoming as the major alumni event; seeing an alumnus and student share a beer on a porch is impossible when students aren’t around.

Homecoming is meant to be a chance for current students to connect and forge bonds with their counterparts, people separated by time but connected by a shared experience. Spring Reunion removes the essence of Homecoming, leaving a glaring gap in Queen’s tradition.

Spring Reunion seems to be a consolation. As a University-sanctioned event, it’s the only viable option for many alumni.

There are ways Spring Reunion can be improved, like marketing it to alert students to its existence.

Spring Reunion needs time to grow and develop before it can be rejected outright. The chance for alumni to return to old haunts is commendable, but unless students get involved, it has little chance of becoming a cemented tradition.

Unless students and alumni can interact and swap stories, the essence of the alumni return is missing.

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