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Creating lasting ties through Homecoming

Homecoming connects returning alumni with Queen's, classmates, faculty, staff, and current students.

[Tricolour Parade]
One of the signature events of Queen's Homecoming is the Tricolour Parade during the Queen's Gaels football game. (University Communications)

During Homecoming thousands of Queen’s alumni from across Canada, and around the world, return to Queen’s to reconnect with the university, classmates, friends, professors, and the City of Kingston.

To help foster these connections there are numerous events throughout the weekend (Friday, Oct. 19-Sunday, Oct. 21).

MILESTONE ANNIVERSARIES
50th Anniversary of the Faculty of Education
Celebrate five decades of excellence as the Faculty of Education hosts several events during Homecoming weekend in honour of this major milestone. The weekend will feature a book launch, an art exhibit, a wine and cheese reception, and more. When and where: For full details on all these events, visit the Faculty of Education website.
125th Anniversary of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science
Homecoming weekend will provide a great kickoff to the 125th celebrations, as alumni share in the excitement at the Dean’s Homecoming Pancake Breakfast. Student teams, clubs and faculty will be on hand to meet with alumni, share past and present stories, and distribute special 125th items – some alumni will have the chance to win limited edition Queen’s Engineering socks. To learn more, see this Gazette article about the celebrations.

Making sure all goes smoothly is a dedicated team supported by legions of volunteers, including faculty, staff, students, and community members.

From organizers of class reunions and events to helping register incoming alumni, from setting up open houses and lending a hand with the Tricolour Guard parade at the Gaels football game, volunteers and volunteering opportunities take many forms.

Leading the way is Sarah Indewey, Associate Director, Alumni and Volunteer Relations in the Office of Advancement.

“We literally cannot run Homecoming without volunteers. There’s a small group of staff who work the majority of the year, then to actually make Homecoming happen we have to increase our team through volunteers. We have more than 250 alumni volunteers who work on class events and class philanthropic campaigns,” she says.  “During Homecoming weekend we also have upwards of 300 volunteer opportunities for students to engage with returning alumni, including helping with registration, making sure that people get checked in for the weekend, and ensuring that alumni are able to find out about the different events and get the different materials available like the Homecoming booklet.”

Interacting with volunteers is an important opportunity for alumni to connect with students and learn more about the Queen’s of today while, at the same time, students see the value of staying connected with the university after they have graduated. These interactions help strengthen the bonds of the Queen’s community.

With this year’s Homecoming just days away, preparations are going well and Ms. Indewey is excited about the opportunities for all involved. Along with the traditional events such as the Tricolour Guard (alumni celebrating their 50th anniversary or more) reception and dinner, the parades, the Queen’s Gaels football game, and numerous class reunions, there are several new additions to the Homecoming calendar.

Of note is the launch event for the Queen’s Black Alumni Chapter, being held Saturday morning, which will feature a panel talk.

Also new is an improved focus on accessibility for Homecoming

“We worked with the Equity Office this year to do a presentation to help the volunteers navigate different conversations and to facilitate positive interactions,” Ms. Indewey says. “We also worked with the Equity Office to train volunteers as Accessibility Champions. We have a lot of Tricolour Guard who come back, or anyone who might have accessibility needs, and we want to ensure that we have opportunity to help them enjoy the best weekend that they can.”

Making a return is the Queen’s Student Alumni Association’s Spirit Corner on Saturday morning. Being held outside Grant Hall, the event will help get alumni ready for a full day of celebrations.

“Alumni can come to Grant Hall in the morning, get a coffee, grab a special ‘Q’ doughnut, get their face painted, have their picture taken with Super Fan, and head off with the Queen’s Bands parade to Richardson Stadium or they can stay around campus and visit the many faculty open houses that are also going on,” Ms. Indewey says.

At the other end of the alumni timeline from the Tricolour Guard is Reunion Zero, where the Class of 2018 returns to Queen’s for their first Homecoming. A recent addition, this reunion continues to grow in popularity and is a way to engage Queen’s newest alumni members in the official Homecoming programming. Also gaining traction is the fifth year reunion. These alumni, Ms. Indewey explains are a little further along and maybe getting settled into their careers and lives. Nostalgia for their university days is just starting to settle in.

“It’s a really great time to reignite that Queen’s spark,” she says “It’s an excuse for them to get in touch with their Queen’s connections and we have a really great turnout in the fifth group.”

For more information about Homecoming 2018, including a full listing of events, visit the Queen’s Alumni website.