Laurier 201 aims to improve the second-year experience
The start of the pandemic was a taxing time for Laurier students who had to quickly adapt to a new online schooling experience.
Incoming Golden Hawks were especially impacted as they did not have the first-year experience that sets up the subsequent years of their time at university.
This is what prompted the launch of Laurier 201, a brand new, exclusive campus-wide program dedicated to these (now second-year) students to experience what they could not before.
“This program was designed to literally show students campus and to create opportunities for social connection that they would have missed out on last year. Even if they were living in residence, they were still confined to their own dorm room,” Devyn Kelly, Laurier 201 coordinator, said.
The program has many campus partnerships which include sustainability, the Students Union, athletics, and wellness.
“[Laurier 201 aims to] help orient and welcome second-year students to campus since they missed out on a lot of the traditional first-year experiences due to the pandemic and the remote learning environment,” Kelly said.
It officially begins with a kickoff weekend on Sept. 3 and 4 on the Waterloo campus, and Sept. 4 on the Brantford campus.
This will be comprised of icebreaking activities, upper-year student mentors, opportunities to win prizes, welcome kits of Laurier merchandise, and campus tours.
The welcome kits also contain important information about services and resources on campus, and this time will be the only early opportunity for a campus tour as the welcome centres will be closed until the end of September.
There will be tailgate parties on Sept. 3 in the Quad at the Waterloo campus, and on Sept. 4 in the courtyard at Brantford, with games, live music, food, and drinks for students to enjoy.
Kelly plans to follow this kickoff weekend with many events and opportunities throughout September.
“[We’re doing] trivia nights, movie nights, and a headphone disco. There will also be academic programming, so, faculty mixers, study groups, designated study space for second-year students on each campus, which will be exclusive access for just them, and then a bunch of different social programming and academic programming all through the fall semester,” she said.
This program is essential for students as we return to a new normal on campus this year.
“We’ve been getting a lot of emails forwarded to us from other departments of students asking if there will be orientation activities or any opportunities like orientation week offered to second-year students, so I think a lot of students want this programming, they just don’t know that it’s happening.”
Kelly is passionate about giving students the experience they should have had during their first year.
“They’re going to get the experience that they should have gotten last year, just a year later,” she said
“The biggest thing that students are going to take from this program is the connection to the physical campus and the connection to each other because they’re going to have a ton of opportunities to meet other students who are in their program, or at least in [their] second year because they’re all really in the same boat right now.”