We’ve picked up the pieces and gotten our lives back together after homecoming weekend, but I’m wondering how many more of these we have left.
The scene on Saturday was par for the course; maroon-clad people roaming the streets of Westdale and Ainslie Wood on their way to parties and backyard keggers ahead of the football game.
The 2,000 or so people who attended the Shaggy concert and pancake breakfast hosted on campus probably made this year less crazy than years gone by. So far, there has not been a Hamilton Spectator article about a kegger-gone-crazy like there was in 2015.
This marginal improvement in behavior is not going to be enough to keep the community happy, and nor should it be. Littering, out-of-control parties, and harassment from drunk idiots during homecoming is going to continue to be a piss-off for Westdalers.
McMaster officials have this on their minds too. The concerts and beer gardens are born out of the McMaster President’s Advisory Committee on Community Relations, who fielded a ton of complaints about keggers and the community wanted change. I was at the infamous South Oval kegger last year, and while it was fun, it went too far.
As students, we can look around to other campuses for what could happen next if we don’t continue to work on improving the homecoming behavior. Queen’s University – a student population and alumni base that wears their tricolour prouder than most schools – put homecoming on hiatus for five years following partiers burning a car and throwing beer bottles at police officers in 2005.
The ban was effective, as the Queen’s Journal student newspaper reports that fines and arrests have dropped after they reinstituted the event.
Western University split up their alumni events over two weekends this year in response to complaints about massive street parties. Picture Sterling St. filled with students –that’s what Western’s homecoming looks like. For what it’s worth, the plan is likely going to be viewed as a failure, as students still partied hard in London on Oct. 1 and likely will party again for the late-October weekend too.
Personally I think it is naïve to equate McMaster’s homecoming to those of Queen’s or Western. The Mac party scene does not reach the same level, but we are not battling against people who care about what happens in Kingston or London.
“It could be worse” is not a good argument for the parent that can’t bring their kid outside to play road hockey because they are concerned about the drunk students walking around yelling profanities. So it’s equally naïve for the McMaster student population to think that we can continue on the same pace and expect homecoming to last forever.
Traditions will only last for as long as the community at-large wants to keep them going, and if students want future generations to enjoy the same festivities they did, it is time to grow up and be a little more respectful of the place you live.