Taking a look at Homecoming 2011

Everyone has a different homecoming experience. Some describe this experience as sloppy, some as energetic and others as nothing more than a regular weekend at Wilfrid Laurier University. To most however, it is a time to party, watch a game and experience school spirit to the fullest.

Homecoming 2011, held from Thursday Sept. 29 to Sunday Oct. 2, coincided with centennial celebrations, and according to Teresa Smiley, coordinator of this year’s homecoming, it was the “best.”

“We were extremely pleased with the outcomes of homecoming weekend,” said Smiley, who has been the school’s Homecoming co-ordinator for the last six years. “A lot of our events had the biggest participation we’ve ever seen.”

Of course no event, especially one as large as Homecoming, goes off without a hitch.

“Pre-game activities didn’t go as planned,” said Smiley. “A couple of things we had coordinated in advance cancelled on us Saturday morning.”

A hawk was released amongst the spectators and was to circle the stands, however, after taking off the bird quickly disappeared behind the press box at University Stadium.

“Obviously the hawk flying out of the stadium was not our plan,” said Smiley.

“But otherwise we were really pleased, there are certain things with an event of this nature that are beyond your control.”

Some things that also tend to come along with Homecoming are misdemeanors and intoxication. Each of these groups takes advantage of the school spirit and football game and many use this as a time to get inebriated.

Officers from Laurier’s Special Constable Services (SCS) were stationed at the game and patrol throughout the night.

According to SCS operations manager Chris Hancocks, “It was a better year than most, we had a couple of intoxicated students, but nothing major that happened.”

There was one incident at the game that brought paramedics to the sidelines. Reportedly, two female students jumped over the barricade dividing the field from temporary tents set up around the track at University Stadium.

When they began making their way toward some pyrotechnic equipment one of the females was, according to Michael Nagy, a first-year on the Laurier football team that witnessed the event, “‘clothes-lined’ and knocked out cold.” Nagy believed the man to be part of the pyrotechnic staff, however, he could not be sure.

“She was out cold before she hit the ground, she was in the air like a rag doll,” added Nagy, who also said the female who got hit appeared intoxicated. “It was disturbing to see … there was nothing held back by the man, he was a 50-year-old man and he wasn’t the skinniest guy and he took a run and put a bicep into her chin.”

Paramedics were brought behind the Laurier bench while the training staff tended to the female, who regained consciousness and according to the report from SCS, “Refused any medical treatment and was requested to leave the stadium. She was escorted out and left in the care of a friend.”

According to Hancocks, as per usual, the football game also brought out a few streakers.

“I think we had two streakers at the game, but that happens every year,” said Hancocks. “That’s not an incident, that’s just people being people.”

In terms of overall participation, Homecoming 2011 was a success. According to Smiley, this year the attendance was higher than ever. Laurier hosted an alumni and community dinner and celebration at Bingemans Conference Centre in Kitchener.

“We had over 700 alumni and community members come out to that,” stated Smiley.

“It was a momentous occasion to celebrate and recognize our top 100 alumni.”

This is Smiley’s last year as co-ordinator and she is “proud of the team, her team.”

“I am always proud to be a Golden Hawk and part of the Laurier family,” she said.

–With files from Justin Fauteux