Student Wellness Services distributes safe-partying kits at Homecoming

Kits part of ongoing harm reduction strategy

SWS is educating students about naloxone.

Ahead of Homecoming weekend on Oct. 29, Student Wellness Services (SWS) distributed safer-partying kits as part of a campus-wide harm reduction strategy.

Packaged into fanny-packs, Party-Goer kits contained reusable water bottles, snacks, condoms, information about emergency services, and other items intended to keep students as safe as possible. SWS distributed 300 over Homecoming.

For SWS, the focus is not to condemn Homecoming celebrations, but rather to minimize potential harms associated with substance use and sexual activity.

“We recognize that everyone is making their own choices, especially when it comes to substances,” Marco Buttigieg, SWS substance use team leader, said in an interview with The Journal.

“We’re just trying to provide students with as much information, and do the best we can, [with] any supplies to help them be as safe as possible.”

Alongside Party-Goer kits, SWS distributed 20 Party-Thrower kits. These kits were designed to provide harm-reducing supplies and information to student houses likely to host Homecoming gatherings.

“[Party-Thrower kits] had a lot of the same resources, it was just the volume at which we distributed them that differed,” Kristin Bessai, Sexual Health Team Leader at SWS said in an interview with The Journal.

“Party-Thrower kits were given in larger boxes. That way the supplies could be at the parties people attend, too.”

Party-Thrower kits were distributed door-to-door on Aberdeen St. and adjacent streets where Homecoming gatherings historically have taken place.

The initiatives were led by the Substance Use and Sexual Health topic teams at the SWS. Peer Health Educators were involved with contributions from the Sexual Health Resource Centre, Campus Observation Room, and Queen’s First Aid. DrugSmart Pharmacy was present at the distribution site, handing out naloxone kits to students.

To Buttigieg, disseminating information about naloxone is of key importance and will be a focus of future harm reduction campaigns.

“I always thought naloxone was just common knowledge, but I had a lot of people asking, ‘what is that?’” Buttigieg said.

Naloxone kits are free and can be obtained at participating pharmacies across Ontario.

Both Bessai and Buttigieg felt it was the initiative’s tone that contributed to its success.

“I think Queen’s students just appreciated that we weren’t saying ‘hey, don’t party,’ and instead were saying ‘hey, have a safe weekend,’” Bessai said.

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.