Honk if you love York!

A record 5,000+ prospective students arrived at York on March 13, to attend the University’s 2004 March Break Gala. The registered numbers (6,600) were up an astonishing amount over last year’s figure of 3,800, following York’s first-ever truly integrated Admissions campaign.

From the rallying cry of the York cheer (“Deep in the heart of the York U jungle, you can hear the Lions rumble….”) to the rousing farewell at the end of a great event (“Honk if you love York!”), York spirit carried the day. The 2004 March Break Gala dawned clear and sunny and a veritable sea of red and white – York Is U members, student ambassadors and volunteer student-spirit teams – met eager prospective students and their parents and filled the Vari Hall rotunda with a kaleidoscope of colour and sound.

There were so many exceptional things happening all over campus, no single story could do them all justice, so instead, here are a few perfect “snapshots of the day”.

What a jazzy sight in the colonnade, where walls were plastered with quick facts about York – just the ticket for trivia-lovers (Did you know there are more than 60 eateries on campus or that more than 1,000 buses a day make the trip here?). Add to that the fancy footwork of the York Lions men’s soccer team and it’s no wonder the welcome teams received compliments like: “It was a true delight to be welcomed as a guest.”

The atmosphere inside and outside the rotunda was electric. From the bravado of the stilt-walkers and the vibrant energy of a steel-pan musician to the “shout your spirit out loud” of York cheerleaders and a glam York Dance Ensemble, excitement was served up with exactly the level of service and information guests wanted. An exceptional CHRY DJ, Jeff Cudahy, kept the crowd on their toes with great tunes. His DJ patter was both humorous and instructive, his broadcast directions helping to move guests effectively from event to event and room to room. “I really enjoyed the music played by the CHRY DJ,” said one happy visitor to the gala. “He created a very friendly and easy environment.”

Keynote speakers, York alumna Sandra Levy (BA ’90, LLB ’95) and Paul Delaney, senior lecturer in York’s Department of Physics & Astronomy, jump-started the day in an inspired and inspiring way.

There was a crush around the tables where prospective students could have their photo taken in lawyer’s robes, courtesy of Osgoode Hall Law School, or in graduation robes, thanks to the Office of Student Affairs. As one student said: “it made me feel like I was really at York.”

Not to be outdone, the Grand Old Duke of York (Patrick Legris, student relations assistant in York’s Convocation Office) – a “town crier” who helped shepherd students – and the York Lions’ mascot were surrounded by eager picture-seeking students too. “I loved having my picture taken with the York Lions’ mascot. The picture will become an important keepsake!” said one prospective student.

York’s student service departments were in on the act. Alumni, York is U, the Career Centre, Financial Services, Housing, Parking & Transportation, Security, Sport York and Student Affairs pulled out all the stops to ensure that every guest had a positive and engaging experience. The “Chat with a Student Café” was alive with the sound of laughter as third- and fourth-year students shared their experiences with appreciative prospective students and their parents. It was just the right touch: “Hearing from an actual student makes it all more real somehow,” commented one visitor. And let’s not forget the mini-sessions. Presenters made York feel just like home for many session participants and dispensed sought-after budget and career-planning advice.

Students were impressed by the way York’s talented and experienced professors devoted time to talk to them about the programs. The information was more than enough to convince them (even their parents!) that going to York would be enjoyable and rewarding.

Highlights of the day include:

  • “The evil deity”, Osgoode’s Professor Allan Hutchinson, in a mock lecture on torts;
  • The fabulous fine arts facilities, student art installations, the striking York Dance Ensemble and the Strate Dance Theatre full of light and swirling colour;
  • Arts’ Reality U: A no-holds-barred portrait of life at York;
  • Atkinson’s student panel (guests loved getting the scoop straight from the source);
  • Powerful warning about a possible recurrence of 2003’s summer blackout by environmental studies Professors Rob Macdonald and Peter Victor;
  • Pure & Applied Science’s “great labs, great information sessions and excellent program overviews.” (Quote from prospective student);
  • Visitors being able to make direct connection with the dean and associate dean of education;
  • Mock LSATs at Osgoode: A unique insight into becoming a law student and an opportunity not offered at any other university open house;
  • High-tech and stunning Seymour Schulich Building where the professors and students were professional, well-spoken and open to all questions.

Check out some of the quotes from the 5000+ attendees:

“The day was interesting and fun from the moment I stepped in the building.”

“I had a wonderful experience on the campus. The students provided great information and were so friendly and helpful. It was really awesome. I would really love to study at York University – a dream come true.”

“It was a great way to have a one-on-one chat with the person hosting the presentation and to get more information about York and the programs besides the phone and handouts.”

“York looks like an amazing school to go to and the course options look fascinating.”

“Loved the fact that the buildings were new, clean and had a welcoming atmosphere!”

“All of the Faculty Zones I visited provided valid and helpful information concerning program requirements as well as a complete description of the programs of study.”

Crowds of smiling parents and prospective students criss-crossed the campus all day, taking in the dynamic, metropolitan and multicultural York neighbourhood. They oohed at the rolling green area around York Pond, aahed at the state-of-the-art classrooms and lecture halls of the Technology Enhanced Learning Building and viewed the Computer Science & Engineering Building and the Seymour Schulich Building with awe. Many said that the benefit to walking around the campus was being able to ask more questions of current students along the way. It was also easier to experience the atmosphere and energy of buildings, academic departments and facilities. The bus tours were a huge hit – the slight chill in the air made hopping on York’s “green” transport very popular.

A small but vocal group of parents who wanted to advocate for their sons and daughters attended a Parent’s Retreat and offered valuable feedback. “The great thing about it was the fact that parents were able to relate to other parents by attending the Parent’s Retreat,” commented one parent.

Glendon had its own event on Sunday, March 14, with interactive tours, student videos and hot debate about reality TV. If you missed the Glendon Gala, find out about upcoming Academic Coffee Houses here.

For more events for prospective students, check Visit Us on the Admissions Web site.


The above article was sent to YFile by York’s Office of Admissions.