My Take On The Homecoming Debate

It was the news that rocked the Western community: homecoming was being changed. The university led decision, which the USC had no involvement in, was instantly met with tons of backlash. They were moving the date from the usual date of October 1st all the way to October 22nd--right in the middle of midterms. The university cited the reason for this decision being that homecoming had become "unsafe" due to the party on Broughdale Ave. Last time I checked, Western doesn’t own that road. So why is that their business?

Two years ago, when I was entering grade 12, I was faced with the decision of applying to universities, and to be honest Western wasn’t exactly on the top of my list. However my former cheerleading coach insisted that I would love it, especially because of their top-notch (arguably the best in the country) cheerleading program. So, I began to look into Western a little bit more--and fell in love.

The first visit to campus was love at first sight. The rolling green of UC hill, and the older-looking buildings drew me in, and I knew I had to go to Western. There was something about the old world charm of the campus and the pride--try talking to a single Western student about why Western is better than Queen’s and they will fiercely defend their school, despite having no clue what the feud is even about. I wanted to be a part of this community, to love and defend my school, to take part in the traditions.

First year was great--I was in Med-Syd hall, a residence rich with old traditions, hidden nooks and crannys, and in all honestly, kind of culty. I was obsessed. Homecoming rolled around, and I reveled in rolling out of bed and being greeted with purple jello shots. I donned a freshly bought Western tank top and a homemade purple and white tutu, and made my way out onto Broughdale. In my opinion, there was nothing that crazy going on on Broughdale--everyone was actually acting tame and respecting the immense police presence. Everything about that day was fun, from Broughdale, to the Hoco on the Hill concert, to meeting people and strengthening friendships. I remember thinking to myself, “This is why I chose Western. This is why I’m here.”

Like many others, I was appalled at the change in date. Throwing the date of homecoming, which Western itself declares a “proud, long-standing Homecoming tradition second to none” right into the middle of midterm season, is harsh and unprecedented. Although I understand where Western is coming from, in the sense that they want to keep the headlines clean and their students safe, they are forcing students to choose between their education and showing their purple pride. I, for one, already have a term test on the date of homecoming from 12-1:30. So long, dreams of dressing in an obnoxious amount of purple and cheering on the ‘stangs, and hello to textbooks and missing out on one of the best events of the year.

The other concern is why not just run the “Hoco on the Hill” programming again? Last year’s strategy of drawing students from Broughdale to an EDM concert on UC hill was a huge success; the amount of criminal charges fell drastically from the year before, the police were friendly, everything was fine.

So, Western, here’s the real question: why do you want to ruin the reputation we have for being a school with a lot of pride and tradition? Although academics are important (that is what we’re here for after all), some people like me didn’t choose this school just to wake up, go to class, go to bed. I want to be able to love my school and share in the pride, but instead, I’ll be studying. So much for “Purple and Proud.”