It’s going to be a busy weekend at Western University as campus welcomes all those attending Reunion Weekend, a new twist on the Homecoming tradition.
The weekend will feature faculty reunions as well as the Alumni Awards of Merit and Golden Anniversary Dinners, events that usually take place during Homecoming.
The Mustangs football team will go head to head with the Laurier Golden Hawks on Saturday at 1 p.m. at TD Stadium.
At the end of May, Western announced it was pushing back the annual celebration known for copious amounts of purple clothing, marquis football match-ups as well as unsanctioned and raucous off-campus parties.
A desire to keep a lid on those wild festivities, specifically the massive crowds that gather on Broughdale Avenue, was what inspired officials to reschedule Homecoming for the weekend of October 22nd.
Broughdale Avenue has been the scene of many rowdy and potentially dangerous Homecoming gatherings. Last year, London Police said there were nearly 10,000 students packed onto the street that’s just south of Western’s main gates on Richmond St.
The sheer size of the crowd made it very difficult for emergency crews to respond to calls for help in the area.
Incidents on Broughdale Avenue last year included someone being impaled on a fence, someone suffering a severe allergic reaction and another person falling from a rooftop.
By pushing back Homecoming to the weekend of October 22nd, Western officials hope students will be more focused on assignments and mid-terms than on having a few beers on Broughdale Avenue.
October’s crisp conditions may also help to keep outdoor parties from reaching a boiling point.
“I don’t know if this is the magic bullet,” Associate VP of Student Experience at Western Jana Luker told AM980 in May. “We’re trying to do whatever we can and I think that’s the point here, is that we need to take some action. It’s not OK to see our community and our students be put in harm’s way.”
Luker said they’ve tried different things to curb the number of rowdy parties in the past, including hosting concerts on campus last year and running educational campaigns. Now, they’re trying an even more proactive approach by rescheduling Homecoming.
“We want our students to have fun and enjoy themselves, but we cannot advocate, we can’t condone it, we can’t let it happen. We’re doing whatever we can to stop the danger that the students are experiencing.”
For more information about Reunion Weekend, click here.
With files from Tom Fraser