By Miranda Voth
Homecoming at Ryerson is lame and Alumni Relations staff knows it. They are in the midst of creating the biggest and best alumni get -together ever, but can they do it without…everything homecomings are made of? Ryerson is known for its boring homecomings. This year Ryerson celebrated the classes of ‘56, ‘81, ‘86, ‘96, and ‘01 by hosting social receptions, campus tours, reunions and awards. Yawn.
Compared to schools such as Queen’s and McGill, that’s nothing. We have no football game to rally over and no alcohol-soaked parties to burn cars at. Not even 500 people showed up to our last homecoming. More than 6,000 gathered at Queen’s.TSN sports caster and Ryerson alumnus Jay Onrait has never been invited to a homecoming or reunion run by Ryerson. “I didn’t even know there was a homecoming. I don’t even know what happens, maybe go to Salad King?” says Onrait, class of ‘98.
The only Ryerson get-together he’s been invited to was run by a fellow RTA grad, Jessica Schmiedchen, who held her own reunion without the help of the university.
“If I got an invitation from Ryerson to go to a class of ’98 reunion, I probably wouldn’t go,” she says.
Ryerson Alumni Relations executive director Tyler Forkes was hired to revamp the newly dubbed Alumni Weekend. He says plans are being worked out to include more events and activities to engage alumni and bring out a larger crowd.
But because plans are not finalized, the details are kept on the down-low.
“We’re hoping to make (Alumni Weekend) much more of a huge deal,” Forkes says. “What our focus will be is sort of a celebration in the Quad. We hope that will be a real gathering point. We’re trying to create a real festival atmosphere for Alumni Weekend this year.”
That is the ‘party’ aspect of homecoming. But even with the apparent fun factors on their way, Ryerson still doesn’t have the pull of a varsity football team.
This year, Ryerson’s Athletic Director Dave Dubois and Alumni Relations say they are working on something to fill the void left by the lack of a football team. Dubois is trying to coincide the festival with a volleyball game.
“We’re hoping to bring in a top ten team from other parts of Canada,” he says. “The problem is those teams haven’t prepared yet…so we’re still thinking about it.”
And if Alumni Relations will never pull off an awesome homecoming weekend for grads, they always have the discounted tickets to the Great Wolf Lodge, and sale prices at the campus bookstore.
“That’s impressive because what I would like to do is buy my parents another set of sweatshirts that say Ryerson Mom and Ryerson Dad,” Onrait says.
Miranda Voth is a third-year magazine journalism student. She doesn’t plan on attending homecoming until Ryerson gets a hot football team.