Homecoming is a weekend celebrated by many. Over a thousand StFX graduates return to campus every year, to catch up with old friends and see the changes that both the university and Antigonish have gone through since they received their X-Rings and walked the campus as undergrads. Current students see the weekend as a reason for celebration, and there are parties and community events back to back for the entirety of the three days. Saturday brings the crowd to the StFX field where, this year, the X-Men will kick off against the Saint Mary’s Huskies at 2pm for one of the biggest games of the season. Students come dressed in blue and white, with signs and face paint ready for a day hyped up with school spirit.
For many years, current students living in residence had the opportunity to sign in friends coming from different universities to join in the celebrations. The minute the sign-up opened, Resident Assistants (RA’s) and House Directors (HD’s) were bombarded with residents attempting to get their friends name on the coveted list. Once the weekend rolled around, bracelets were handed out and only those with the right coloured bracelet would be allowed into the corresponding residence. However, this year, the university has decided that guests are no longer welcome for Homecoming.
Bob Hale, Head of Student Services, states, “We have historically had a lot of damage by guests in the residences and we are trying to minimize it this year. There are lots of events to celebrate Homecoming, so honestly, I do not believe it will take away from the celebrations." Just last year, Homecoming resulted in thousands of dollars of damages in most residences, with broken ceiling tiles, holes punched in walls, and overall disregard for school property. Therefore, it seems logical that the university decided to ban guests completely, although students are certainly not happy with the decision.
Applications for Residence Assistants (RAs) were open much longer than normal last year, and Residence Life seemed desperate to get enough students willing to step up and man the halls of residences. This year, staff is extremely tight and many are working more than they had expected to be. Homecoming, especially when guests are welcome, is a stressful time for Res Life staff as RAs are posted at every doorway checking bracelets in each and every residence, not to mention dealing with conflict brought on by drunk, excitable students. RAs were reluctant to work in some residences, subsequently leaving them short staffed. Therefore, the decision to ban students from other universities appears to have also been brought on by the lack of staff to control situations that may arise.
Although many current students have expressed resentment towards the no guest policy, Homecoming is certainly a weekend catered to the returning alumnus, with campus tours, a Welcome Home dinner, and the President’s Reception and Golden Grad Dinner - this year honoring the Class of 1966 on the fifty-year anniversary of their graduation. Students and the university are still optimistic that Homecoming will go smoothly, provided weather is cooperative.