Letter to the Editors: September 23

Alumni parade is more than a lap around a track

Alumni parade is more than a lap around a track 

I can remember my first Homecoming like it was yesterday.

October 2007. Crammed into the student side at Richardson Stadium. My tam? Firmly pulled down over my ears.

As the clock ticks down to half time I notice the alumni side of the stadium starting to empty. Class after class getting into place along the (now-defunct) Richardson track. Queen’s bands take their rightful place at center field. The parade starts to creep towards us.

First come the golf carts, driving alumni well into their 80’s and 90’s. Bundled up in tri-colour blankets and scarves, they wave and blow kisses to the crowd as they pass by. I feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up. In this moment I realize this is Queen’s. This is what it’s all about.  The noise from the student side starts. It doesn’t stop. We chant year after year as they walk past us. “We love alum, we love alum, we love alum.” It doesn’t matter what faculty, what residence. Every student is unified, reaching over the railings to high-five or shake hands with any alumni we can get close to. There are families walking together – a grandmother, mother and daughter representing three generations at Queen’s, packs of Engineers who wouldn’t miss this moment for the world and young couples carrying their toddlers on their shoulders.

It was special. It was tradition. It was Queen’s.

To think that no Queen’s student or alumni will get to share that experience moving forward is, frustrating, sad and, frankly, indefensible. The new stadium might not have a track, but there’s plenty of room to make this happen. A simple question of logistics shouldn’t trump decades of tradition.

Until you’re able to be a part of something like the alumni lap I don’t think you can truly comprehend just how deep that Queen’s spirit and connection runs for so many. Alumni will be flying in from all over the world to come home this October, the least we can do is ensure they get their chance to take a lap and soak up the love from the Queen’s community. Queen’s is tradition and tradition never graduates -- it simply comes home. We should be there to welcome it at halftime, like we always have.

Andrew Lockhart, Artsci’11

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