Highlights from Laurier Homecoming 2017

Wilfrid Laurier University held its annual Waterloo campus homecoming festivities this past weekend from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1.

Events held at the Waterloo campus homecoming included a Friday night concert at the Turret nightclub featuring Kira Isabella and the Rivertown Saints, the anticipated football showdown between the Golden Hawks and Western University’s Mustangs and a variety of events, reunions and receptions for Laurier’s alumni.

“I think in terms of overall bringing together the community, hitting the attendance numbers we wanted to hit, making sure all the events that we were hosting, you know, really did their job in terms of connecting with the people that we’ve invited,” Sandra Palmaro, interim vice-president of development and alumni relations, said.

“We’re really happy with the results.”

One less exciting result for fans of Laurier’s football team was the game against Western that took place at University Stadium on Sept. 30 and ended with a score of 29-13 in Western’s favour.

“The stands were packed, the energy was fantastic. Unfortunately, we didn’t win that one. But you really felt that community spirit, that Laurier spirit, on the field,” Palmaro said.

Beyond events like the football game, which was open to everyone, there were many events specifically scheduled to bring together Laurier alumni, including the “Forever Golden Reception & Dinner”, which was held later on Sept. 30 in the Senate and Board Chambers.

“I had the opportunity to MC the Forever Golden event, which was the grads of ’67, and there were more than 50 people in attendance. It was a really moving evening,” Palmaro said.

“They all had their yearbooks out, and you know, hanging around after the event was over and really wanting us to continue to bring them together in that way,” Palmaro said.

The stands were packed, the energy was fantastic.

Another event held on Sept. 30 was a celebration in honour of Don Morgenson, professor emeritus in the department of psychology, who passed away earlier this year.

The celebration had a large attendance, attesting to Morgenson’s positive affect on the community.

Down the street from all of the events at Laurier, the University of Waterloo held their own annual “Reunion” weekend on Sept. 29 and 30.

When asked about this, Palmaro noted that having two homecomings on the same weekend presented no special logistical difficulties she was aware of.

Back around Laurier’s campus, however, observers may have noticed the increased presence of students throughout the weekend, lining the nearby streets donned in Laurier’s school colours of purple and gold.

Fully aware that there would be this kind of increased activity around campus, Laurier’s Students’ Union and Special Constable Services worked with the Waterloo Regional Police Service to make sure that everyone in the area stayed safe.

For Laurier, an aspect of this was having a role in the door knocking campaign that went on through the weekend, an effort put on by many different community partners.

“[The campaign is] a partnership with our auxiliary, the Waterloo Regional Police Auxiliary Program, the City of Waterloo, the City of Waterloo Bylaw, Wilfrid Laurier Students’ Union, as well as Special Constable Services,” Mike Haffner, executive officer for the Waterloo Regional Police service, said.

“It’s a door-knocking program where we go around and just provide people with some insight as to that we are going to be out there and we’re going to have a fair approach, but we’ve also encouraged them to have fun and look out for each other,” Haffner said.

With respect to safety, Haffner was confident that the communication and collaboration the WRPS had with its various partners helped to mitigate potential trouble that could have risen over the weekend.

“Although there is a number of people that participated in homecoming weekend, we feel that we were successful in managing any potential issues … we’re very fortunate that nothing too serious happened,” Haffner said.

In addition to ensuring the safety of students and community members, Palmaro noted the importance of maintaining acceptable behaviour from current students.

“From a safety perspective also, obviously that’s first and foremost is the safety of students. But also, it’s really to present ourselves to alumni and to the community as a school that behaves well and welcomes people in a way that you would want them to,” Palmaro said.

Following the events on Saturday, members of Laurier’s EcoHawks gathered on the morning of Sunday, Oct. 1 to begin cleaning up litter and waste left around campus.

Melanie Woitzik, EcoHawks coordinator, explained that the group conducts clean ups after the homecoming and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations on campus, in addition to doing two in Waterloo park at certain points through the year.

The dozens of students who assembled to clean up after homecoming this year received equipment to do so through the City of Waterloo’s “Partners in Parks” program.

“They gave us access to all the gloves, the garbage bags, the nippers, safety vests — they went over all the safety rules for a cleanup, especially around street areas; very specific guidelines,” Woitzik said.

Looking into the month ahead, Laurier has a second homecoming celebration planned to take place for the Brantford campus on Oct. 20.

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