Columns / The Saint

An Open Letter from the Dean of Students

Photo courtesy of Abigale Racine

Welcome Fall! The crisp air is quickly approaching and along with that comes the rush of

Homecoming! The weekend of September 25 and 26 promises to be a memorable moment along your college journey. We will be able to enjoy live music by John Rush: The Human iPod from 8:00pm to 10:00pm Friday night in Regina Bowl, as well as the full day of scheduled activities on Saturday (check out http://www.aquinas.edu/homecoming for all of the details) including crowning of the homecoming king and queen between the women’s lacrosse and soccer games. Aquinas pride will be in full swing, and I hope it carries over into how we all conduct ourselves as Saints.

Homecoming weekend is designed for our alumni family to come home to their distinctively Catholic and Dominican roots at Aquinas. It encourages community, fellowship and school spirit between alumni, faculty, staff and students. We turn the tables a bit this weekend, so I wanted to talk about the main stage tent and minors in proximity of alcohol. In years past, students have been banned from entering the tent at all. However, with the goal of building community, this seems counterintuitive. This year students under 21 will be allowed to enter the tent in order to provides opportunities for community building, networking and camaraderie.

At the same time, Aquinas strives to make campus a safe and inclusive atmosphere for all. Federal and state laws still apply, and minors will not be allowed to drink alcohol in the tent (or anywhere else). Security systems (both internal and external) will be in place to enforce these rules and any violator will be subject to the official conduct process. You can find the Student Handbook online which addresses the alcohol policy.

Role modeling healthy behaviors as students also aligns with role modeling good citizenship of Grand Rapids. There have been complaints from our Eastown and Fulton Heights neighbors in the past regarding Homecoming related activities which may spill over the Aquinas boundaries. The Grand Rapids Police Department has been asked to step up their efforts to enforce all policies and we are partnering with them in these efforts. That being said, we know students want a chance to interact and build community. This is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate our community’s values and the Dominican Charisms in action.

There are a lot of entertaining things to do this upcoming week and weekend besides the main stage tent! By being involved and accountable, we will all have a wonderful homecoming weekend. As Aquinas College community members and Grand Rapids citizens, let us responsibly welcome and celebrate our Alumni family and friends. Let us make Homecoming memorable for all the right reasons and be living examples of the Dominican Charisms.

Sincerely,

Andrea Wirgau

Dean of Student Development

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