Western students are celebrating FOCO for the second time this Sept. 30, despite the school’s official homecoming date set for Oct. 21.
FOCO describes "fake homecoming,” a now annual event where students celebrate Homecoming in late September instead of on its official weekend in October. FOCO started last year after Western University moved Homecoming to late October in an attempt to tone down rowdy street parties on Broughdale Avenue.
Despite the date change, last year's FOCO saw approximately 7,000 people flood the streets surrounding Western.
Bardia Jalayer, a third-year Faculty of Arts and Humanities student at Western, will be one of the many students celebrating FOCO this year.
"A lot of students have exams surrounding the actual homecoming date," Jalayer said. "We like to celebrate the friends that we made during university and the school spirit that we have."
Multiple Facebook event groups for FOCO have popped up, with some that have more than 4,000 members attending the event.
Gabi Christie, a fourth-year student double majoring in French and psychology, said she'll attend FOCO because she expects her HOCO experience to be ruined by midterms.
“I think that ultimately it’s putting a burden on students," she said. "It puts us in the position of deciding between showing our Western pride and doing well on midterms.”
The University Students' Council is also preparing for FOCO 2017. As decided at the USC's summer meeting, USC executives, councillors and volunteers will hand out water bottles on Broughdale Avenue during FOCO. The USC is also looking into food distribution, according to USC President Tobi Solebo.
Solebo said the USC's main focus is to make sure that people are partying safe, given the amount of students getting riled up for the event.
"I think for students, [FOCO] is a way to give themselves a voice." he said. "This is an example of a grassroots movement and an example of students showing their frustration through action and working together."
With momentum building online, it looks like FOCO will be around for at least another year.
“For those of us in upper years, our first Homecoming experience was on the now FOCO date," Christie said. "That was a really special experience, and I feel like it was for a lot of other people."