ReUnion Street Festival: Keeping the Tradition Alive
Though the new school year has just begun, the temperature is already starting to drop and leaves are already starting to change. This can only mean one thing… Queen’s Homecoming is just around the corner!
Homecoming has been my favourite weekend at Queen’s for the past two years, and I am beyond excited to be heading into my third. I love the Tricolour spirit in the air, I love seeing alumni with their leather jackets bearing their graduating year. I love cheering on the Gaels at the football and rugby games, and I love celebrating my school at the ReUnion Street Festival. The Festival is a place where students and alumni chat while grabbing a bite from the many food trucks, take a fun group picture at the photobooth, and win raffle prizes from different faculties, all while enjoying the live concert. My own amazing experiences at the Festival is what inspired me to get involved with its planning this year.
At the ReUnion Street Festival last fall, as I was dancing and singing my heart out in the rain to the Arkells, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and saw a man, probably in his mid-40s, smiling at me as if I was an old friend. Above the music and the crowd I heard him ask me if I was in Con-Ed. I looked down and realized I was wearing my tell-tale leather jacket, and he shared that he was a Concurrent Education graduate from nearly 30 years before. We chatted about what traditions from our faculty still remained, and which of them had changed over the years. He told me about how he was now a principal at his school in BC after decades of teaching, and I told him about my experiences on the Concurrent Education Students’ Association. We took a picture together with our jackets (his being an ArtSci jacket, with a “Concurrent Education” bar on the sleeve!), then went our separate ways. This brief interaction with an alumnus made me realize what’s so special about the ReUnion Street Festival. It’s a safe and inclusive environment at Homecoming, where students and alumni have the opportunity to come together in celebration of Queen’s University.
The ReUnion Street Festival is going into its third year, and has quickly become a part of the tradition at Queen’s Homecoming. I feel so lucky to be the Marketing Chair for the Festival this year, and to be working alongside an amazing team (Emily Rowell – Festival Coordinator, Linnea Kalchos – Volunteer & Outreach Chair, Michael Niven – Operations Chair, and Ellen Rowe – Programming Chair).
Though there are only five members on our ReUnion team, you wouldn’t believe how many other people have also been involved in working to make the night so special. We are working alongside the Queen’s Alumni Association, the Municipal Affairs Commission and the MarComm office of the AMS, StudioQ, Kingston’s Police and Emergency Services, and City of Kingston staff members. We’ve also been working with various sponsors from the local Kington community, food vendors, several clubs on campus, and more. There are countless people that are all contributing to this night, and it’s crazy to think that it’s now only a few weeks away! To even further show what Queen’s students (both old and new) are all about, we’ve also decided to use this amazing event as an opportunity to raise money for PROkids Kingston. This is an amazing charity that works to help local children in need of financial support to become involved in the arts, sports, culture, and recreational activities. Not only do we see the ReUnion Street Festival as a chance to celebrate Queen’s, we also want it to be a way for us to give back to the Kingston community that we’ve all had the fortune to call home.
Having the opportunity to be a part of Homecoming during Queen’s University’s 175th anniversary is something I couldn’t be more ecstatic about. Luckily for all you other Tricolour-fanatics, we have several volunteer opportunities available for all students wanting to get involved with the ReUnion Street Festival and other Homecoming events. Visit www.queensu.ca/alumni/homecoming and check out the “Volunteer at Homecoming” page to see how you too can be part of the tradition.
Check out https://myams.org/reunion/ for further details about the ReUnion Street Festival, we can’t wait to see you there!
Written by Ellise Truong, Concurrent Education ’18, ReUnion Street Festival Marketing Chair