Western University gets ready for virtual homecoming

Western University administration emphasizes that the use of the lanyards associated with the new identification system is entirely voluntary. Geoff Robins / The Canadian Press

For the first time, Western University’s homecoming will be going online this year to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

The 71st annual homecoming is happening from Friday to Sunday and will include a mix of online events for students and alumni.

Tyler Forkes, executive director of alumni relations, said the theme for 2020 is, “Virtually Canada’s Best Homecoming.”

“It’s all about that shared experience, and even if we can’t get together in a traditional way, we are hoping that there will be that connection and alumni can connect through social media and feel like they are apart of that Western family,” Forkes said.

Forkes said there is a host of events people can participate in on the Western Homecoming 2020 web page. Participants don’t need to register.

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Things kick off Friday night with a Virtual Creative Coffeehouse followed by a zoom meeting for alumni who graduated over 50 years ago. There will also be several performances on a live stream.

This year’s lineup includes performances by some famous Western Alum, such as Canadian Country star Genevieve Fisher and troubadour Rick McGhie.

A full list of events is available on the website.

Western said more than 500 people have already registered for this virtual event, with hundreds registering for the other offerings over the weekend.

At least 74 Western students have tested positive for the virus since the start of last month. The number is likely higher, but the health unit is refraining from issuing an ongoing updated figure.

Dr. Alex Summers, associate medical officer of health, said COVID-19 is spreading the most in unregulated environments like social situations.

In years past, homecoming has brought crowds of thousands out to celebrate, but in light of the global pandemic, organizers opted for a virtual event to allow people to celebrate.

— With Files from Matthew Trevithick Global News


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