As homecoming celebrations begin at Wilfrid Laurier University on Thursday, the school and regional police are reminding students to celebrate safely and responsibly.
After two years of virtual and hybrid events, Homecoming is a comeback to in-person celebrations.
“We remind the students of the positive impact they can have and ask them to keep their community top of mind, to be respectful and look out for one another and our neighbors, as we celebrate all that makes us proud to be a Golden Hawk ,” Ivan Joseph, the school’s vice president of student affairs, said in an emailed statement to CBC Kitchener-Waterloo.
He said the university is working with the City of Waterloo, regional police and emergency responders to help ensure the safety of students and the community.
A spokesperson with the university said there will also be an increased presence of police and the school’s special constables on campus and nearby neighborhoods during the weekend.
The school also warned students about the impact “risky behavior” could have on local emergency departments, which are dealing with staffing shortages and are at capacity.
Nuisance Noise Bylaw
Waterloo city council voted on Wednesday to reinstate a special nuisance noise bylaw this weekend.
It is intended to be an enforcement tool against loud noise from unsanctioned public gatherings. This means that anyone caught making loud noises in public on Friday to Sunday could face legal repercussions such as a fine.
“We anticipate that the football game and other homecoming events will bring an increase in students to the surrounding neighborhoods. As such, the city, as part of a multi-agency team, has developed a plan to respond to community concerns that may result in unsanctioned public gatherings occurring during Homecoming weekend,” the city said in a statement attached to the motion.
The bylaw was first implemented last year during homecoming weekend.
More than 600 charges laid during Project Safe Semester
The Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) is also reminding students to be responsible this weekend.
“We appeal to students to show respect for themselves, their neighbors and the larger community. Those who wish to celebrate are asked to do so in a safe and lawful manner,” a spokesperson said in an email.
Police have laid more than 650 charges in the first four weeks of this year’s Project Safe Semester, a month-long campaign that promotes well-being and safety for community members and students.
WRPS Interim Chief John Goodman said in an interview earlier this month the service has an operational plan in place to tackle unsanctioned street parties.
“We had operational plans in place from the second week of August and they will run straight through the end of the month of September,” he said.
“We will have more enforcement and more visibility, more officers on the street,” he added.