With classes having resumed and welcome week concluded, many students have turned their attention to the next large-scale event coming up: Homecoming. Brock students have been anticipating their Homecoming plans, preparing themselves for the often-high spirited antics that ensure with Homecoming weekend. With classes resuming next week, municipalities are gearing up for the return of college and university students — and their partying habits.
Homecoming is a favourite Brock tradition and an important event not just for students and faculty but for St. Catharines residents also. However, along with the joys of Homecoming, there have been several issues in the past with student partying on a large scale and disrupting many local residents. Last year, several hundred students gathered for a large public party on Winterberry Boulevard in Thorold on the Friday night of the Homecoming weekend. The event caused several disruptions. Many local residents were unhappy with the resulting noise issues which were further exacerbated after similar shenanigans on St. Patrick’s Day later in the year.
In response, Brock has taken proactive measures through several means to ensure everyone has a safe and successful weekend. As a part of these measures, campus security will be patrolling neighbourhoods in Thorold and St. Catharines during Homecoming weekend, which is scheduled for September 21 and 22. There will also be an increased police presence at high traffic areas and certain roads may be redirected or boarded off to prevent large-scale groupings such as last year.
When asked about their preparations for Homecoming weekend, the Niagara Regional Police Service stated they “continue to work with both community agencies and Brock University to ensure both the safety of the community and students during this event. As always, we encourage participants to be respectful of their neighbours. In addition, officers will be monitoring the festivities for underage drinking, impaired driving, and disorderly behavior.”
Brock has also taken action through its Extensive Neighbour Relations Initiative alongside its Good Neighbour campaigns and Good Neighbour Awards, which are designed to encourage students and reward them for when they have a positive impact on their community.
Niagara houses over 20,000 university and college students. As a result, Brock officials have been working extensively with the Niagara regional police service to not only tackle any issues that arise from student related noise complaints but to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
Brock University officials have been working closely with both St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik and Thorold Mayor Ted Luciani aim to collaborate on enforcing appropriate behavior by students and ensure all comply with the relevant bylaws. Alongside Niagara police officials and campus security university staff will also be present on both Saturday and Sunday to help patrol residential neighborhoods. In addition, Brock’s off-campus living staff have been in contact with Thorold and St. Catharines residents who previously voiced concerns and provided them with contact information for appropriate officials.
Brock officials emphasized that these procedures are to help both St. Catharines or Thorold residents but are also designed to help Brock students. The penalties imposed for noise bylaw complaints can be as much as $5,000 alongside the city nuisance party bylaws which have a fine of $300. Brock deliberately aims to prevent students from having to pay these fines by teaching the correct behavior and by coordinating with both students and city officials.