‘Firm but fair’ approach for Homecoming

It is nearing the end of September, which can mean only one thing — Homecoming

Photo by Will Huang
Photo by Will Huang

It is nearing the end of September, which can mean only one thing — Homecoming is just around the proverbial corner for Wilfrid Laurier University. From September 25 to the 27, Laurier’s Waterloo campus will be flooded with alumni, parents and students celebrating the past and future classes of the institution.

While this year promises to deliver the usual excitement for students, a dinner for the inducted athletes, celebrations at house parties and the football game on Saturday, organizations at Laurier and around Kitchener-Waterloo are preparing strategies.

Laurier faculty, Special Constable Services and the Waterloo Regional Police Service have been working in tandem to make sure every participant has a safe and enjoyable time.

Lori Chalmers Morrison, director of communications and public affairs at Laurier, said that safety is the “major concern.”

Students will be reminded to download the new SAFEHawk app run by SCS, to make use of Foot Patrol for walks and to be respectful at events and when walking to and from on-campus events.

Olivia Matthews, Wilfrid Laurier University’s Students’ Union president, said that members of the Students’ Union will be present at various events throughout the weekend. The Union also stresses the importance of safety for students.

“We want to make sure that students are safe but also that they’re being respectful of themselves and everything around them,” said Matthews. “The day of, we are all going to be out there. It’s (the game) not obviously a Students’ Union event it’s run by athletics, but they’re our partners so we want to support them.”

“Just like last year, the WRPS will be working with the Special Constable Service, Waterloo Regional Fire and Rescue and Municipal Enforcement to have a strong physical presence both on and off campus,” said Morrison. “Due to increase in foot traffic on campus and surrounding neighborhoods, their focus will be to direct traffic and create safe conditions for the pedestrians.”

Last year’s Homecoming was a peaceful affair with minimal incidents reported. Executive officer Mike Haffner of the WRPS intends to keep it that way.

Waterloo Regional Police will be in patrol cars, on bicycles, horseback and foot, which will help establish a highly-visible presence to deter any unlawful activity.

Haffner hopes to implement a fair approach when dealing with students participating in the festivities.

“A firm but fair approach establishing a standard of acceptable behaviour while encouraging a respectful and responsible attitude,” said Haffner of their strategy.

With a special reminder to students about the open alcohol carrying laws, Haffner believes this year will be go as smoothly as planned by officials and the university.

Chalmers-Morrison believes in a “collaborative effort” by all involved.

“A well-established, collaborative effort between many university and community stakeholders will help mitigate issues and ensure a wonderful weekend,” she said.

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