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HOMECOMING 2013: Class of '83 to host Jack Project fundraiser

 Event organizer Sharon Allum (Com'83) 

By Communications Staff

When Sharon (Rebman) Allum (Com’83) returns to campus this weekend for Homecoming, it won’t only be to revisit old haunts and to reconnect with former classmates. She will also be dedicating her time to organizing an all-faculty fundraising party for the Class of ‘83 at the Underground (formerly Alfie’s).

Her cause is The Jack Project, a charity that supports youth mental health. It was founded by Eric Windeler (Com’82) after his son Jack, a first year Queen’s student, died by suicide. A similar fundraising event hosted last year by the Class of 1982 raised $250,000 to support the charity. Ms. Allum heard from friends that it had been a great event and decided to spearhead a similar initiative for her class at Homecoming 2013.

“I know it’s not a Queen’s-only charity, but it was started by a Queen’s grad based on a tragic event that happened at Queen’s,” says Ms. Allum who is married to Brian Allum (Com’81) and is the mother of Jessica Allum (Artsci’12). “Many members of the Class of ’83 have kids Jack’s age, so it’s something we can relate to. It could be any one of us facing a similar tragedy.”

While Ms. Allum acknowledges it may be a challenge to match last year’s fundraising total – money that was raised by many of Eric Windeler’s former classmates – she is hoping to raise at least $30,000. She says the fact that the event is open to alumni from all faculties is also important.

“Faculty events are great, but sometimes you want to hang with old roommates who are outside your faculty, or sometimes married alumni from different departments are forced to choose events,” says Ms. Allum. “This one brings everyone together.”

Eric Windeler says he is thrilled that the Class of ‘83 has chosen to support The Jack Project at Homecoming. Describing it as “special and magical”, he says last year’s event enabled alumni from all faculties to spend time together, while sharing memories of their times at Queen's.

“The message behind The Jack Project really seems to resonate with the parents of a 30th reunion class,” says Mr. Windeler. “They are facing mental health issues with their kids. They can relate. I can't tell you how many parents who have spoken to me and said they have benefited from Jack's story and the work we do to promote mental health. I hope this is the start of a 30th reunion class tradition."

The fundraising event will feature live music by The 20th Century Boys, an Ottawa band featuring a number of Queen’s alumni who performed at last year’s event. Admission is $10. 

A complete list of Queen's Homecoming events is available online.