University students gather for homecoming weekend in Waterloo Region

With public safety measures in place, university students in Waterloo Region gathered on Saturday for the first homecoming weekend since 2019.

“Honestly it’s just parties, after parties, after parties,” said one student at Wilfrid Laurier University. “That’s the point of [homecoming]”.

COVID-19 restrictions limited outdoor gatherings to a maximum of 100 people and indoor gatherings to 25 people.

Waterloo bylaw officials patrolled the area for unlawful gatherings or failure to comply with safety guidelines. As of Saturday afternoon, the City of Waterloo’s Director of Municipal Enforcement, Nicole Papke, said students have been following the rules.

“We did receive several complaints regarding gatherings that appeared to be more than 100 [people],” Papke said. “But all of the complaints we have attended thus far have been under 100 people outside.”

Papke added that several areas around Ezra Avenue have been blocked-off to help prevent unsanctioned parties.

At the University of Guelph, the Gryphons beat the No.1 nationally ranked Western Mustangs 23-21 in their OUA football season opener at Alumni Stadium.

The Waterloo Warriors beat the Laurier Golden Hawks 36-12 at University Stadium.

Capacity was capped at 900 people and attendees had to show proof of vaccination before entering the stadium.

“In order to get the ticket you have to prove you’re vaccinated, show your ID and you’ll also be required to wear a mask inside even though it’s an outdoor event,” said Jason Coolman, VP of advancement and external relations at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Coolman said anyone who breaks gathering restrictions would be subject to fines or even expulsion.