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Students promote Homecoming safety

The Alma Mater Society and the Society of Graduate and Professional Students have created a series of videos to promote a responsible Homecoming.

Tricolour parade
Students and alumni taking part in the Tricolour Parade at Queen's Homecoming.

As Queen’s prepares to welcome back over 3,000 alumni for the celebration of Homecoming, many staff, students, volunteers, and community partners are working hard to ensure that the university’s visitors have a weekend full of tricolour spirit. At the same time, the Alma Mater Society (AMS) and the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) are also finding creative ways to remind everyone in the Queen’s community to be safe and responsible while enjoying the festivities. To get their messages across, the AMS and SGPS has produced a series of videos that encourage behaviours that can help limit the disruption to the neighbourhoods around the university during Homecoming.

“At the AMS, we all felt it was important to get out this message of safety and respect because we all want to make sure that Homecoming is an event that the entire Queen’s community can take pride in,” says Brendan Robson, Director of Communications for AMS. “I think that these videos will be an entertaining, lighthearted way to remind students and visitors that they need to be responsible while they’re having fun during Homecoming weekend.”

HOMECOMING 2019
The full schedule of Homecoming events is available online on the Queen’s Alumni website.

The videos focus primarily on preventing broken glass on the streets and discouraging people from going on roofs. For the video about broken glass, the AMS and SGPS decided not to focus on the unsightliness of the garbage or the burden of cleaning it up. Instead, they are relying on a different reason, one that they hope is hard to ignore: the safety of dogs. Broken shards of glass can cut the paws of dogs as they walk along city streets, so the video reminds the audience to keep their four-legged friends in mind while they are enjoying Homecoming. The video features the tagline “Save our Paws,” and it builds on a social media campaign that the AMS and the SGPS collaborated on for this year’s orientation. The two student organizations wanted to use dogs in the video because people connect with them so strongly, but keeping broken glass off the streets is beneficial for everyone’s safety, as people can injure themselves if they fall into the shards.

Following three different dogs around campus, the video shows them doing things that would be dangerous if there were broken glass everywhere, like running and rolling around on the ground. Originally, Robson scripted out the video with a specific idea of what kinds of shots he wanted to get of the dogs. But when filming started, he quickly realized that the dogs knew much more about being entertaining than he did.

For the pair of 15-second videos that aim to keep students off of roofs, Robson chose to adopt the style of a public service announcement. To make sure the videos would connect with students, however, he used a conversational and humourous approach to get the message across.

While Robson took the lead on writing the scripts for all the videos, the production was a true team effort. Studio Q handled the filming and editing, and the actors are members of the Queen’s Players. The dogs in the video also represent a range of the Queen’s community, as they are the pets of various students.

The efforts by the AMS and SGPS to promote health and safety go beyond communications. As they have done in previous years, members of the student government will be distributing water to people on the streets throughout the day on Saturday. And they will also be preparing kits available to all students that have items like water bottles, granola bars, information about wellness resources at Queen’s, and carabiners to help people keep track of their keys. The Walkhome service, operated by the AMS, will also be available over Homecoming weekend.  

Students who consume too much alcohol can make use of the Campus Observation Room (COR), which provides a voluntary, confidential, and non-judgmental space for students to recuperate. For a full list of safety services available to students, visit the campus life website.

Watch the videos on the AMS Facebook page.