First-years start with a bang

This year’s O-Week faced unique challenges and required services and volunteers to be better organized and prepared for the incoming flux of more than 3,000 first year on- and off-campus students. The idea was to create programming that would accommodate the growing number of O-Week participants.

Having two move-in days was one of the major additions to this year’s O-Week. Jacqueline Twomey, an icebreaker for the gold buccaneers, was very satisfied with how both move-in days went. “We had a lot of people who didn’t need to help us move in help us move in. It was nice as well because then I got an extra day with my first years.”

Chandler Joliffe, Foot Patrol co-ordinator, also spoke about the success of two move-in days. “I think at the worst point the line-up on University went to King Street, which isn’t bad considering when I moved in last year I was parked by the time I was on the off ramp from the highway. ”

“I thought move-in day went great,” said director of orientation Kevin Duquette.

“In terms of both, it was a brand new process that we were dealing with, so there were a few hiccups … but Monday went absolutely flawlessly, it could not have gone any better.”

Reflecting back on the experience of the two days, Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union president Nick Gibson noted that in the future, moving in different residences in combination with certain times might help organize the move-in day better, but overall was pleased.

The On-Campus Celebration (OCC) included performances from These Kids Wear Crowns and Classified and was the longest night of the week for Foot Patrol and Special Constable Services (SCS).

“Overall I think it went well, I think this was the first year that every single student was able to get into a venue, with the fourth venue being the Athletic Complex,” said Duquette.

“You always get the over-intoxicated individuals during O-Week,” Joliffe said.

“With the exception of OCC it was actually a pretty tame week.” He mentioned how Foot Patrol broke their previous record of walks for the night at a staggering 230 calls.

“I think it’s amazing that we have more calls than usual,” he commented. “I think it’s good that people are being safety-conscious.”

Special Constable Services also experienced an influx in calls during O-Week.
“It was a very busy week for our service. On the Waterloo campus we attended on 455 calls for service and 91 incidents required a report by the Special Constables,” Rod Curran , director of SCS, said. Of those 91 incidents, 17 of the reports were for injured/sick persons and 16 were for intoxicated individuals.
There were also six liquor offences handed out and 11 drug complaints. SCS also reported four break-and-enter incidents on campus, two at Clara Conrad Hall and two at Leupold. Curran noted that students should be mindful to lock their windows especially if they are at the ground floor level.

“Bottom line, all of our students made it back to residence safely and were well behaved,” Curran added.

Gibson explained the cause behind the increased amount of calls. “I think it’s more so that [the incidents] were a little bit more known. In the past it hasn’t been as obvious.”

He clarified further, “Certainly there was a few [injuries] when it comes to first years, especially when it came to on campus celebrations, who had learned the tough way as to how to deal with a new environment and new ways to do things, if you know what I mean.”

While O-Week is traditionally dry, OCC provided an opportunity for students who are of age to drink at Wilf’s. Duquette explained, “In terms of Wilf’s serving alcohol to people who are 19, it’s been that way as long as I can remember. It gives students who are 19 an option to [drink].”

Regarding concerns of safe drinking, Duquette added, “We are pretty strict and we enforce the alcohol policy in terms of underage drinking. We encourage responsible alcohol consumption. … There were a few instances, but that’s to be expected.”

Icebreaker Twomey remarked on how responsible her first years were about alcohol.

“Oh yeah, they drank during O-Week. But no one being really hungover, no one talking about how wasted they got and I never saw them drinking,” she commented.

Regarding the programming during O-Week in its entirety, Gibson added, “The speakers have gone well, the events have gone well and opening ceremonies went really well. I mean timing wise the first one was a little later, but again those types of things happen. Beyond that it’s been great.”