Laurier welcomes 4,000 new students

Wilfrid Laurier University’s Waterloo campus is set to welcome a new cohort of first-year students, come September.

Opening ceremonies for Orientation Week will be held on September 5, in the evening, allowing time for students moving-in that day to unpack and familiarise themselves with their floors, before launching into O-Week activities.

First-years will begin the following Tuesday with student success sessions, aimed to brace them for life at university through chats on wellness and academic advising and then spending the afternoon scouring campus on a scavenger hunt specially designed to showcase the resources available on campus.

One of O-Week’s highlights will come that evening when the Arkells will be performing in the Athletic Complex. This show will be made available to all Laurier students, a shift from past years when the annual On-Campus Celebration was exclusive to first-year students and included as part of their O-Week ticket.

“Part of our biggest issue was that, in previous years, because the TA capacity is smaller and we have so many first-year students, we were trying to mitigate the capacity issue of not being able to fit every first-year student in the concert and wanting to make sure that every first year student would be able to attend the concert if they wanted to,” said Laurier’s vice-president of programming and services, Kimberly Hutchings.

“[It] just gives everyone an opportunity to come together as a campus community, versus holding it exclusively as an Orientation Week event.”

Wednesday will feature morning academic sessions, followed by an afternoon presentation on consent and finally, an evening of nostalgic

fun at A-Team’s carnival night.

Though classes begin on Thursday, O-Week activities continue throughout the day, with the Get Involved Fair running all day, followed by an evening game-show night. Friday features a day of picnicking at Waterloo Park, an activity to allow students to explore a new part of Waterloo, while still bonding with their icebreakers and floormates.

“We’ve had feedback from our volunteers saying they wish they had more one on one time to just hangout and get to know their first-years,” said Hutchings.

“We thought that this was a good way to still explore part of the city while having more time scheduled that they could play games, explore the park and interact with the different city partners.”

The picnic will feature resources brought in by the city to welcome students, such as recreation groups and food trucks.

This all leads up to O-Week’s final day and arguably its most important; on Saturday, students and their icebreakers will be positioned across the K-W Region collecting money for Shinerama, a yearly fundraiser for cystic fibrosis, followed by their class of 2020 group photo and closing ceremonies.

However, O-Week, put on by the

Student’s Union, is not the only thing to welcome new first-years to Laurier this fall. The newest cohort of the Lazaridis Students’ Society, who only arrived in office in May 2016, immediately set out to create the First Year Handbook, a comprehensive online guide for navigating your studies at Laurier.

While it was developed with business and economics students in mind and certain sections in the guide are limited to these groups, LazSoc is confident that the guide can prove useful to all incoming students.

“This isn’t just for Lazaridis students. That’s why we called it the first-year guide book and not the Lazaridis handbook,” said LazSoc president, Simon Macleod. “We wanted students to feel like, even if you’re not in Lazaridis, the faculty, you still could easily access this information.”

The handbook is split into four sections: academics, resources, social and contacts. The academic section includes a glossary on commonly used university jargon as well as a breakdown of all the best study spots on campus, including instructions on how to reserve library group study rooms.

The resources tab lists information on the different resources available on campus, while the social tab discusses OneCards and everything you could need to know about meal plans and on-campus dinning. The ‘contact us’ section lists academic advising information for business and economics students only. There is also a section on Grand River Transit, the K-W Region’s public transportation service that all full-time students pay for with their tuition.

“We just wanted to give first-year students a positive impact before they even get to school and this is just a way for them to look over some quick little tips,” said Macleod.

“Just things that students in general might not be aware of, we tried to do our best in providing information about.”

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