Queen’s gears up for second Homecoming

New attractions will include a Saturday street festival on Union St.

Police in the University District during the first Homecoming weekend.
Police in the University District during the first Homecoming weekend.

From Oct. 17-19, Queen’s will celebrate the second year of Homecoming after a five-year ban.

Unlike last year, this year’s Homecoming will be held over one weekend. New programming, including the ReUnion Street Festival and the Art Crawl, will also be featured.

The ReUnion Street Festival, organized by the AMS in conjunction with the University and the City, intends to connect students and alumni on Union St. The Art Crawl will highlight the arts community and anniversaries of the Fine Arts department and the Union Gallery.

Though Homecoming ran over two weekends in 2013, the University made the decision to reduce it to one this year.

“Last year was a reintroduction of Homecoming after a hiatus, and so discussion both within the university and with our community partners felt that a two-weekend [model] was the best way to get this thing going in a smooth way,” said Tom Harris, vice principal of advancement.

Current students will have the opportunity to meet and greet alumni through planned events, for which they can also volunteer.

“We have a volunteer registry for students to participate, the faculties and schools have opportunities, and it is going to be more organized then just a drop-in. We are going to have current students having the chance to interact and mingle with alumni,” Harris said.

Harris said the University has been providing organizational support to the AMS for the ReUnion Street Festival.

The festival will feature live music, food vendors and a licensed area for liquor sales and consumption. According to a document provided by the AMS to City Council, 3,500-5,000 people are expected to attend the festival.

“The AMS is now in the process of working out logistics of how to organize and working with the university to ensure it is safe and respectful,” he said.

AMS President Allison Williams said that introducing large-scale programming that allows students and alumni to connect will improve the weekend.

“In many ways, we want to expand on many of the issues that were undertaken last year,” she said.

“From our perspective many things did go well last year around the different ways that students and alumni were engaged,” she added. “The thing to improve was programming on the Saturday night.”

The AMS will work in early fall to communicate the events of Homecoming weekend to students, Williams said.

“The AMS always has some form of messaging for Homecoming, typically through a campaign that talks about the event and the purposes for the event and engagement in the event,” she said, adding that the AMS will plant trees and hold street cleanups after Homecoming weekend.

The AMS has been working with the City in order to ensure Homecoming goes smoothly, Williams said, including seeking and receiving a noise bylaw exemption permit from City Council on Aug. 12.

Homecoming programming

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 17

12 - 4 p.m. - Pumpkin Smash: Queen's Engineers Without Borders hold their fifth annual Pumpkin Smash at Agnes Benedickson Field. A pumpkin that weighs over 500 lbs. is hoisted, then dropped to raise awareness for Queen's Engineers Without Borders' national and international programs.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 18

10:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. - Art Crawl: The first annual Art Crawl celebrates the 40th and 20th anniversaries, respectively, of the Fine Arts department and the Union Gallery, and takes people to the Art Conservation facilities, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts.

1 - 4 p.m. - Football Game and Half Time Parade: Queen's takes on the York University Lions at Richardson Stadium. The game includes a halftime parade of alumni at 2:30 p.m.

10 p.m. - 2 a.m. - ReUnion Street Festival: The first ReUnion Street Festival allows alumni and students to interact on Union St. between University Ave. and Division St. Originally pitched as the Tricolour Festival by the current AMS executive, the festival is intended to provide an alternative to Aberdeen St. parties.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 19

11 a.m. - 12 p.m. - University District Tree Planting: Students, faculty and alumni come together to plant trees on and off campus.

8 p.m. - Queen's Vagabond Theatre Presents: Vacancies, an Environmental Adaptation of No Exit: Student actors perform an adaptation of Jean Paul Sartre's No Exit in the JDUC's John Orr Room.

A full list of Homecoming events is available at http://www.queensu.ca/alumni/networking/reunions.html

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