Homecoming returns to single weekend, Oct. 20-22

Western’s Homecoming celebrations are returning to the university’s long-held tradition of one weekend of festivities in 2017, university officials announced this week.

A date for the celebration has already been set for the weekend of Oct. 20-22. While this is a little later in the schedule than Homecoming celebrations of the recent past, a lot of thought and consideration went into planning a fun and timely weekend for both alumni and current students, said Trista Walker, Executive Director of Alumni Relations and Development.

“While the weekend is intended for an alumni celebration, we want students to participate and enjoy Homecoming alongside our alumni,” Walker noted.

“We feel students have a better anchor in their academic year later in October. They will have better-established relationships on campus by then and (an October Homecoming celebration) gives a bit of a distance from the Orientation Week celebration,” she added.

Other factors that lead to the date selection include Thanksgiving, Jewish holidays, a proximity to the start of the academic calendar, study days and Convocation.

In 2016, Western’s Homecoming celebrations and events were split over two weekends. In May, Western officials announced Homecoming 2016 would be moved to Saturday, Oct. 22, in an effort to address a variety of concerns associated with an unsanctioned street party on Broughdale Avenue. Labeled ‘Homecoming Saturday,’ that weekend featured a football-centric experience for participants. Planned faculty reunions, as well as the Alumni Awards of Merit and Golden Anniversary dinners, still took place as originally planned on Reunion Weekend, Sept. 30-Oct. 2.

Walker noted the planning for the 2016 celebration included a similar approach and reason for moving Homecoming events to later in the fall, but the originally announced dates of alumni events needed to be honoured, making it difficult to host one weekend of festivities in October.

“In 2016, we offered both a Reunion Weekend and a Homecoming experience – it was a one-time effort to make a transition to a later fall date. We had already shared the 2016 (reunion) date and we needed to honour that date for people celebrating milestone reunions – hence the creation of reunion weekend just for 2016,” she explained.

“In 2017, and in the future, reunion activity and Homecoming will return to be together again. We will continue to work with the London Police Service and our partners at London Health Sciences Centre and EMS to ensure the safe delivery of Homecoming moving forward,” Walker continued.

“Having a later fall date is a nod to tradition. Homecoming had been celebrated later in the fall with great success in the past. We understand that many alumni have been asking as they begin their reunion planning.”