Ready for Homecoming

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 11 Online Gazette.

Like a magnet, Homecoming draws alumni back to Queen’s to reconnect with the university, the community and former classmates, as well as with faculty and staff.

But the attraction doesn’t just happen by itself. There is a lot of planning and work that goes on, much of it behind the scenes and mostly undertaken by scores of volunteers.

Homecoming 2016 is set for  Oct. 14-16 and, as with everything being held in this 175th year of Queen’s University, the celebrations are going to be special.

“It’s a very special year. With the 175th anniversary of Queen’s and the excitement around that, given that Homecoming is a celebration of milestone classes, the fact that it is a milestone for the university makes it just the perfect opportunity to celebrate,” says Sarah Indewey, Manager of Volunteer Relations and Reunions in the Office of Advancement.

Not only will Queen’s be celebrating its 175th anniversary throughout the weekend and fostering recognition between students and alumni, there will also be a series of events marking the successful Initiative Campaign, which raised more than $640 million for the university.

With more than 35,000 alumni donating, as well as the efforts of numerous volunteers, the campaign wouldn’t have been such a success, Ms. Indewey says.

Current students have also played a big role in planning and organizing events. With a record-setting 100 classes and groups participating over the three days of Homecoming 2016, hosting the events wouldn’t be possible without the support and contributions of the more than 300 student volunteers.

The Homecoming football game will be held at the revitalized Richardson Stadium with the Alumni Parade being held before the Queen’s Gaels face the Windsor Lancers at 1 pm. The parade route will take alumni from Grant Hall to the stadium.

A partnership has been set up with Kingston Trolley Tours for those who cannot walk the route. Accessible Services has also been engaged and a bus will follow to pick up any participants unable to complete the trek.

Activities are planned throughout the weekend, from open houses, tours and meet-and-greets, to breakfasts, brunches, lunches and the ReUnion Street Festival, hosted by the Alma Mater Society (AMS).

Classes having milestone graduation anniversary years will enjoy special programming hosted by the university. Events are planned for classes celebrating their five-year and 25-year anniversaries, as well as those who graduated 50 or more years ago, better known as the Tricolour Guard.

Added to the list this year is Reunion-Zero, where the university’s newest alumni – the Class of 2016 – are being invited back to Queen’s. By hosting the new graduates during this transition stage the university is hoping to cement the ties as they became part of the university’s global alumni network.

It’s something that Ms. Indewey understands very well. She started working at Queen’s the day after she graduated and then joined the Office of Advancement in 2004. It’s a point of pride for her and the team to make Homecoming special for all alumni.

“Staff, faculty, and students from across campus all come together to make Homecoming happen,” she says. “There’s something for everyone to take part in. It’s like our work coming to life. The joy that comes out of people’s attendance of Homecoming is hard to resist. It keeps us going.”

For more information and schedules visit the Homecoming website.

Twitter users are encouraged to use the hashtag #QueensHomecoming.