Breaking down O-Week

The longstanding tradition of Orientation Week’s On-Campus Celebration went off without a hitch again this year.

Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union (WLUSU) president Kyle Walker described the Tuesday night event as highly successful.

There were very few disruptions during the event. Walker estimated that 90 per cent of students who were asked to leave the celebration were turned away at the entrance, whether it was due to visible intoxication, underage drinking or possessing alcohol.

More severe incidents resulted in O-Week bracelets being cut, with those students facing a meeting with Walker.

“A lot of wristbands weren’t cut necessarily because students were intoxicated,” Walker explained, “It was because […] they showed up at the main doors with alcohol with them.”

According to Walker, a wristband needed to be cut without exception in those situations due to the danger of both WLUSU and the school losing their liquor licenses.

Despite the fact that wristbands were cut, Walker reported that the number of offenders was on par with last year. On top of that, all but three wristbands were given back.

“There were just three incidents where the students were very aggressive with security,” he noted. “We’re not going to give you your wristband back in that situation.”

Walker was impressed that students were able to uphold Laurier’s reputation within the community. With Waterloo Regional Police on duty and bylaw informed of the celebration, WLUSU was able to shut the event down at 1 a.m. without a single noise complaint.

During the course of the night, Emergency Response Team was dispatched a total of five times and Special Constable Services (SCS) were dispatched six times.

One of the more urgent medical emergencies occurred in the Turret, where two students passed out, allegedly from heat exhaustion. However, rumours of students being carried out on stretchers were exaggerated.

Walker emphasized that despite concerns about the heat, the Turret never exceeded capacity and was in fact below capacity for most of the night.

“It was pretty hot up there,” Walker admitted, but he was proud of the actions that were taken by SCS and the O-Week volunteers. SCS opened the doors to the outdoor area, and volunteers took action by bringing up thirty cases of water bottles to distribute to students.

Though SCS was not dispatched at all during the 2009 celebration, Operations Manager Chris Hancocks maintains that officers were not very busy at all Tuesday and felt that things went smoothly.

Foot Patrol had an active night. “We had about 32 volunteers working for the night, including some Breakers with previous Foot experience, and every O-Week volunteer on Foot,” said Ashley Madill-Tossounian, the Foot Patrol coordinator.

Madill-Tossounian said it was hard to keep track of exactly how many walks the service performed that night because many did not call to be met and escorted home. However, it was determined that Foot performed 200 walks and rides during the celebration — nearly twice as many as last year’s event, where 113 individuals were walked and driven.

Madill-Tossounian was pleasantly surprised at how few of those Foot Patrol encountered were visibly intoxicated. “There are always going to be students who want to break the rules,” she noted.

On-Campus Celebration had recently changed monikers after being known as “On-Campus Party” in previous years.

With WLUSU’s new “learning outcomes” and the attempt to shift the focus away from O-Week revelry, the name change seemed fitting.


Click here to check out photos from O-Week


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