March Gala draws 7,000 prospective students

Despite the lack of sunshine, the Keele campus sparkled with energy as more than 7,000 future students and guests roamed its precincts on Saturday, March 10. For many, experiencing York began right at Downsview station or in York’s parking lot 1A as red-jacketed student ambassadors provided a distinctive high-powered welcome.

Inside Vari Hall, visitors encountered Admissions ambassador greeters, York Lions mascots and cheerleaders, a Caribbean steel-drum musician, the York Dance Team Club and the event’s DJ, Aaren de Jong from the Electronic Music Society @ York (EMSAY).

Right: Ambassadors welcome visitors to Vari Hall

The Admissions Central Zone in Vari Hall steered future students to Faculty and Admissions tables, accepted documents in the Mature & Transfer Students Zone, conducted an ongoing Student Services Information Fair and hosted the Student Life Zone – a carousel of mini-half-hour workshops to prepare future students for university life. Workshop topics included financial matters, the college and residence community, job-hunting skills and international exchange programs.

Left: A visitor gets help planning her day at York

Parents were encouraged to visit the Parents’ Lounge to pick up parent-specific information about helping their sons or daughters make a successful transition to university and get a free massage to smooth out tense shoulders. For those in need of a beverage, the Las Nubes Rainforest Café featured a surround-sound multimedia recreation of the Costa Rica rainforest.

The real stars of the show were the Faculty Zones, each providing customized programs in distinctive areas on campus. Among the highlights:

  • Arts showcased its Multimedia Language Centre and taught visitors to say "I’m coming to York!" in 17 languages.
  • Atkinson highlighted academic projects in the community and current students shared the ways to make the most of first year.
  • Education created a simulation of hearing loss in its specially equipped classroom for the Teacher of the Deaf and Hard-Hearing Program.
  • Environmental Studies invited visitors to play "SUSTAIN: The Life-size Board Game."
  • Fine Arts promoted artistic talent with in-studio, live performance presentations and exhibitions.
  • Glendon, whose campus March Gala event took place the next day, enveloped visitors in a mini-version of its beautiful, natural campus and discussed its top-rate liberal arts programs in English and French.
  • Health provided individual program sessions and tours with professors and current students.
  • Osgoode provided future students with the opportunity to have a photo taken in a legal gown – and imagine themselves at law school.
  • Schulich offered business hopefuls a welcome and overview of the program, an information fair and mini-lectures.
  • Science & Engineering provided customized program sessions and tip-to-toe facilities tours, including the astronomical observatory.

Left: Tour guides ready to show visitors around

The March Gala was a success thanks to staff from York’s undergraduate Faculties, Colleges, Student Housing, Office of Admissions, Marketing & Communications, The Underground, Student Community & Leadership Development, Student Financial Services, Counselling & Development Centre, York International, Office for Persons with Disabilities, Career and Advising Centres, Information Technology Centre, Office of Alumni, York Lanes, Student Centre, Sport & Recreation, Facilities Services, Scott Library, Parking & Transportation, Hospitality Services, Security Services and the York University Bookstore.

How do recruiters know the day was a success? Just listen to one March Gala visitor: "York has been my first choice since I visited the Ontario University Fair. Then I went to the preview party in the fall. Now I know that I can’t see myself anywhere but here next year. See you in September!"

For future students unable to attend the gala, York is offering a program of special information sessions and tours March 12-16. More information is available at the March Gala Web site.

To find out about more events for future students, check out the Visit Us Web site.

Above: These York ambassadors greeted thousands of visitors March 10