Approved fall break extended to a week

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Students at Wilfrid Laurier University are getting a longer fall reading break than they originally expected.

At the Laurier senate and board meeting on Jan. 13, a week-long break — as opposed to the two-day proposal that was approved back on Nov. 26 — was solidified into the academic calendar for the 2014-15 year. The break will begin following the Thanksgiving weekend, which means that the break will only take up four additional days on the academic calendar.

“There was a bit of discussion of how the schedules were to kind of fit together, so it became a little bit of a competing interest discussion between mainly the business faculty and science faculty,” explained Stephen Franchetto, VP: university affairs at the Wilfrid Laurier University Student’s Union, adding that the new development has been well received.

Since a lot of classes within the business faculty have exams on weekends and a lot of classes in the science faculty have labs on Thursdays and Fridays, the university couldn’t find an appropriate place to have the two day fall reading days.

“Instead of having some classes disrupted, all classes take the same break. Logistically it ended up being the best option,” said Chris Walker, a student senator at Laurier. “It didn’t cause winners or losers which some other options have.”

One of the reasons why the Students’ Union and others were apprehensive with proposing a weeklong break originally was because of the potential impact it may have on the exam schedule and Orientation Week. But WLUSU president and CEO, Annie Constantinescu reaffirmed that it won’t have a major impact on O-Week.

“I think the main concern two years ago was from a revolving Orientation Week,” said Constantinescu. “I think we’ve done a better job trying to analyze the values and maintaining the values of orientation week as opposed to cutting the main programs.”

With classes still beginning the Thursday after Labour Day, programming such as Bingemans — which has typically been on the Thursday of O-Week — have been moved and the Get Involved Fair will take its place. Constantinescu said that this could make the fair bigger if all students, instead of just first-years, are on campus.

The only impact it may have on the exam schedule is if Labour Day falls later in September. If it does, Walker noted that it may push the exam schedule a little bit later with the potential of Sunday exams, but that also depends on Laurier’s enrolment and space if a situation does arise.  Laurier will implement this week-long fall break in a three-year trial period and will study what impacts it has on the students as well as scheduling.

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