Queen’s plans two-weekend Homecoming for 2021

Queen’s University has announced that Homecoming 2021 will take place over two weekends in October instead of one.

“The decision to host two alumni Homecoming weekends is driven by the desire to be responsive to alumni and to accommodate the projected number of attendees in event venues on campus and accommodations within the city of Kingston and beyond,” said a statement on their Homecoming website.

“Our plans for in-person Homecoming weekend will be subject to public health guidelines and may need to be modified or cancelled.”

Homecoming will take place from October 15 -17, 2021 for classes whose graduation year ends in ‘0’ or ‘5’.

It will take place from October 29-31, 2021 for classes whose graduation year ends in ‘1’ or ‘6’.

A virtual event for all alumni takes place on Sunday, October 17, 2021.

It’s not the first time the institution has split their traditionally spirited alumni celebrations in half. The 2013 Homecoming was also held over two weekends, after being cancelled for four years following community complaints over riotous parties.

Queen’s hosted an entirely virtual Homecoming in October 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Police reported a quieter weekend than anticipated, but dozens of infractions for house parties in violation of the Reopening Ontario Act, open alcohol in public and nuisance parties were still recoded. There was also a series of seven prank fire alarm pulls at an on-campus residence.

According to Kingston Police, they were unaware of plans for these events until the announcement was made.

“Kingston Police is just finding out about these events and will begin taking the necessary steps to plan accordingly,” said Constable Ash Gutheinz, Media Relations Officer for Kingston Police. “This will involve internal organizational discussions and planning in regards to the allocation of resources as well as communications with our community partners.”

Mayor Bryan Paterson responded similarly to the announcement.

“I was not aware of this decision. While I certainly hope that in-person gatherings are an option by the fall, I also think that with variant strains emerging and vaccine rollout seeing delays, that there are still a lot of unknowns going forward. Public Health and the safety of our community are my primary concerns right now,” Paterson said in an email to Kingstonist. “I trust that whatever direction Queen’s takes, that they will work closely with Public Health, Kingston Police and City Bylaw staff to ensure that we are prepared and can provide a safe and respectful environment for everyone in our community.”

Samantha Butler-Hassan, Local Journalism Initiative

Samantha Butler-Hassan is a staff writer and life-long Kingston resident. She is a news junkie and mom who loves reading and exploring the community. This article has been made possible with the support of the Local Journalism Initiative.

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