LSPIRG hosts annual Radical Orientation Week to highlight issues of social justice

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From Sept. 11 to Sept. 15, the Laurier Students Public Interest Research Group (LSPIRG) held their annual Radical Orientation Week on Wilfrid Laurier University’s Waterloo and Brantford campuses.

The Rad Week events — intended to highlight social justice issues — took place the week following the Students’ Union Orientation Week, and were organized in collaboration with the Diversity and Equity Office (DEO) and Indigenous Student Centre (ISC).

LSPRIG has been putting on Rad Week annually since 2006.

“I wasn’t around then, but from what I hear…is that we wanted to create events that kind of like complimented O-Week,” said Jay Rideout, communications and outreach director for LSPIRG.

“There are a lot of events during O-Week that are really high-energy, and like a lot of extraverted kind of stuff and we wanted to like counteract that with some more mellow things for folks to do,” Rideout said.

“But also its always been really educational, it has always been really focused on talking about certain issues that were important each year.”

Some of the events offered at this year’s Rad Week included “Lunch with ISC and LSPIRG; Learning Land Acknowledgements,” and “Will You Be My Friend?” an event which was held at The Turret and described on the LSPIRG webpage as “A new play by Janice Jo about her journey in finding her place within the community as a person of colour.”

Rideout noted that the “Will You Be My Friend” event nearly sold out completely.

“We packed the Turret, which was really cool,” Rideout said.

“So having one event, sometimes two a day, we noticed that was really helpful and people were more willing to come out when they didn’t have to choose between like three other events that day.”

While all of the Rad Week events went off smoothly, the “Sexy Health Carnival” that was supposed to be put on by the Native Youth Health Network got cancelled at the last minute.

“We’ve had them before, but they just last minute fell through unfortunately,” Rideout said.

For the first time this year, the organizers decided not to run Rad Week events concurrently with the rest of the Orientation Week events, but instead, schedule them all the following week.

“This is actually the first year that we did Rad Week the week after O-Week,” Rideout said.

“We’ve always done it the same week as O-Week, and we saw a lot of divide, where like you have your very extraverted students who want to go to all the very loud, chanty, concert-type things for O-Week, and we get the more introverted folks.”

“This year as a team we really talked about it, and we were like, ‘we think it would be really beneficial to do it the week after’, and it definitely was,” Rideout said.

In addition to this change, Rideout noted that organizers also adjusted their focus this year when programming events throughout the week.

“We tried to pack a little bit too much in sometimes. So this year we did less events, but focused more on those events to make them bigger, advertise them more, bring in specialized folks who cost more money,” Rideout said.

“So having one event, sometimes two a day, we noticed that was really helpful and people were more willing to come out when they didn’t have to choose between like three other events that day.”

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