Orientation week 2017 comes to an end

Photo by Luke Sarazin

Saturday, Sept. 9 was the final day that concluded a successful Orientation Week of 2017 at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Wrapping up with a win from the Golden Hawk football team, the closing ceremonies were especially exciting for new students as they began their first year at Laurier.

This year, 3,277 o-week tickets were sold to first years who had the opportunity to participate in various events each day scheduled by the Students’ Union. Although, in order to keep students engaged, many changes were made this year to adopt a program more customized to the incoming students.

“By taking feedback [from past years] and implementing it we have seen some success, and by really focusing on what students are actually interested in rather than what we personally think works well,” Anthony Tomizza, vice-president of Programming and Services for the Students’ Union said.

A focus for this year’s orientation week was to allow students the ability to pick and choose what they wanted to attend.

“I liked how once we moved in we were able to do our own thing, we had the day to do what we wanted and meet people on our floor instead of being with ice breakers the whole time, it was a good balance,” first-year student, Olivia White said.

This year it was important to the Students’ Union not to overwhelm students and volunteers with programming, but instead to create a schedule that had important and engaging events.

Creating a schedule that was balanced in order to avoid overwhelming first-years and volunteers was a goal of the Students’ Union for this past O-Week.

“One of my biggest focuses was having qualitative programming over quantitative and that one thing the team worked on, clearing the schedule to make sure students were making use and taking advantage of sessions which were most useful for them,” Kanwar Brar, President and CEO of Students’ Union said.

By providing students with a lighter schedule, they had the option to settle in or remain engaged all day. It was entirely up to the student.

“We gave students a lot of breathing room in order to make sure that they had some free time to meet new people, explore their resident communities and everything else on campus, while taking advantage of everything we had to offer,” Brar said.

In order to make this change, one of the major events altered was the A-Team concert featuring Desiigner. The concert became the main feature on Thursday night, ensuring all those who wanted to attend were able to. 

Desiigner sold out and filled up the WLU Athletic Complex with over 2,200 tickets sold.

“Selling out the AC is a really big accomplishment, sometimes it is even difficult to sell out a Turret concert,” Tomizza said.

The Students’ Union attributes this success to considering the interests of students and changing the date to a night where more engagement was available with upper years.

New events were also implemented for this year’s O-Week, which was a success according to both students and the Students’ Union.

Positive pulse took place on Tuesday in the Athletic Complex gymnasium, which presented a new take on the mental health programming from previous years. The focus for this event was on not only mental health but also physical health. The Students’ Union partnered with Athletics and Recreation to demonstrate to students how to maintain a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle with the resources available at Laurier.

Positive pulse was a three-hour event which gave students the opportunity to participate in Yoga and Zumba classes, use a rock-climbing wall, take a tour of the AC, learn about mental health in the concourse and purchase healthy produce from the Food Bank’s Farmers Market. Students also had the opportunity to speak with the education programming company Disruptt where they could ask questions and text in any fears anonymously they had.

“Changing the perspective from just mental health to wellness as a whole including mental and physical wellbeing is really important, so that is something that will be great to continue for future orientation weeks,” Tomizza said.

The hope for this event was to encourage students to take advantage of all the wellness resources on campus during their time here at Laurier.

“The orientation team and I were able to take some time to float around the events and we were doing Zumba with so many first years in the AC which was incredible because that never really happens,” Tomizza said.

Tuesday also featured the room burning demonstration, put on by a Waterloo Fire Rescue team, Special Constables and SHERM (Safety, Health, Environment and Risk Management) at the Northdale campus. The Students’ Union improved logistics from last year’s demonstration such as the location and number of people at a time in order to highlight the importance of fire safety on campus.

“The room burn was cool and educational, it made us aware of fire hazards such as decorations on a lamp or bringing candles,” first-year student, Alexa Kichuk said.

The event consisted of a mock dorm room catching on fire and displayed how quickly a fire can escalate if a situation were to occur.

“It has that entertainment aspect as well as that informative aspect, we want to make sure we’re getting some important messages to students throughout the week as well as providing them outlets to be entertained,” Tomizza said.

Creating a schedule that was balanced in order to avoid overwhelming first-years and volunteers was a goal of the Students’ Union for this past O-Week.

“We focused on what students needed and we delivered based on that and that’s something I’m really proud of my team for doing,” Brar said.

Training volunteers was another priority for this year, as training began in the summer months to provide volunteers with the skills they needed to create a great atmosphere for incoming students.

“My biggest goal was satisfaction for both students and volunteers, and that volunteers felt happy and were successful in orientation, whether new or not. Same with students that we fulfilled the goal of orientation week which is to orient students into Laurier and the University culture,” Brar said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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