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10 Tips for Surviving Western University’s FOCO AKA “Fake Homecoming”

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Western chapter.

It’s almost that time of year again Western students ー the time in which we remember our dear sweet president Amit Chakma and his decision to push Western’s *actual* homecoming to late October. While this is a time of grievance for many Mustangs who continue to treasure the old days, it is also a time of great pride as the last weekend of September is a good indication of just how strong the Western community is. From Engineering to English, FIMS to French, FOCO is a time when we all bond together to partake in the annual ritual of heading to Broughdale Avenue to party together in protest. With the social event of the season on the horizon, I have compiled 10 tips to surviving FOCO 2018 to ensure that all Mustangs are able to do it over again year after year.

In addition to the much-anticipated “Purple Fest” facilitated by Western’s USC (University Students’ Council), the Western community is already buzzing with FOCO fever. While partying on the street may be a Western tradition, London Police warn of an increased police presence on site. Therefore, use the tips listed below to ensure you, your house, your friends and your wallet don’t become victims to FOCO this year.


Tip #1: No one can tell you’re a Queen’s student if you’re wearing Western merch

Even though we all know you diss us behind our backs, Western’s FOCO is undoubtedly legendary and therefore, as long as you’re repping something purple, everyone’s welcome. While it’s unknown if Broughdale will welcome celebrity guests like last year’s low-key visit from Shawn Mendes, the street will still be filled with a sea of purple. Whether you want to showcase your lifestyle choices with the bookstore classic “Western Dad” cap or an iconic Purple Store original tee, make sure you hit up the UCC for everything you need prior to hitting the streets.


Tip #2: Locked, loaded and looking for an Uber

With the street likely to be blocked off by police in the early morning hours, arriving with any kind of container will raise suspicion. In saying that, this is what backpacks and reusable cups are for. While it may seem redundant to say, remember to use your LTC bus pass, Uber, any of the local cab companies, or walk to and from the event. Driving under any kind of influence is not okay.


Tip #3: Two’s a company, three’s a crowd, ten thousand’s a lot of people

Whether you stay with a group or have a close pal’s phone number written on your hand, nothing is worse than winding up lost or in a bad situation by yourself. Although you’ll likely be greeted warmly if you wander into another party, keeping your friends close is a good way to guarantee everyone makes it home okay. Additionally, if you see any concerning behaviour that needs immediate assistance, do not be afraid to intervene even if the person is a stranger to you. Simply calling 9-1-1, a friend or a cab can save lives.


Tip #4: Don’t be a dick

Despite many Western students never leaving the campus or surrounding area, London does have a population of over 350,000 people and not all of the houses on Broughdale Avenue are rented out by students. Last year, the apparent disregard for an elderly woman’s gardens and front lawn made news headlines, only giving the public further reason to think negatively of the student population. Although a team of students rallied and replanted her garden, the FOCO event often disrupts neighbourhoods and local wildlife. Use garbage and recycling cans when provided or attempt to take your trash home with you. In other words, don’t be a dick.

Tip #5: Drink responsibly (or don’t get caught)

Every year, hundreds of students are issued public intoxication tickets and multiple arrests are made during the FOCO festivities. In order to curb that, know your limits and always be aware of your surroundings. However, if you do find yourself in the presence of police, remember that being respectful and courteous will almost always end with better results.


Tip #6: Eat, hydrate (with water), and please for the love of God stop jumping off roofs

If you don’t want to be asleep on the curb by 2 P.M., remember to bring a water bottle (filled with actual water), pack energizing snacks, and think twice before making any decisions. Doing so will not only keep your hangover to a minimum, but it will also ensure all of your limbs are intact. You can still “Full Send” without fully sending yourself to the closest emergency room. Also, if you get into a situation where you feel uncomfortable or have suddenly changed your mind, remember tip #3 and phone a friend.

Tip #7: Smile, you’re on camera!

With smartphones in everyone’s back pockets along with plenty of news coverage of the event, don’t do anything you wouldn’t want to be recorded for your parents, employers, and the rest of the world to see. You can find the Western TV footage of last year’s FOCO here and 2016’s footage here and here. Also, don’t forget to smile!


Tip #8: Guest List is a MUST

Planning to drink all day and party all night? Unless you plan on spending your night in long lineups or showing up before nine PM, getting your group of friends on a club’s guest list is a MUST. Many of the popular Richmond Row bars are hosting FOCO related events and are likely to be packed with students. With The Weather Network calling for a brisk evening temperature of just ten degrees, you definitely don’t want to be stuck on the outside.


Tip #9: Keep it classy, Western!

Western is seen as one of the most prestigious universities in Ontario, in addition to being viewed as one of the best party schools as well. Essentially, we’re the best of both worlds. However, inappropriately portraying our student body reflects poorly on all us; including those of us who care more so about our degrees than Jack’s dollar beers.

Tip #10: An absence of a yes is a no

While FOCO is a great time to meet people as it brings together the majority of the Western community, if you’re going to engage in any kind of intimate acts, make sure the consent of both parties is obtained. If you witness a situation that looks like something isn’t right, attempt to intervene and stop the act before it occurs. The intoxication of drugs and alcohol can impact anyone in regard to their decision-making, meaning that anything besides a yes, is a no—even if the person changes their mind after it has already begun.


Well, that’s all from me Western students! Use the ten tips listed above as your key survival methods on this September 29 as we take to the streets of Broughdale Avenue to pay our utmost respects to our old pal Chakma. See you there!


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Full-time student, part-time librarian, all-time procrastinator. Lover of all animals, drinker of many cups of hot chocolate, and auntie to two super sweet little boys. Angel mom, domestic violence advocate and junior communications executive.
This is the contributor account for Her Campus Western.