Frosh Welcome Week festivities begin Sunday

Above: Bethune College students celebrate during a 2006 Frosh Week outing

It’s that time of year again – the last week of summer vacation, when the Keele and Glendon campuses begin teeming with new students – a.k.a. frosh – looking to orient themselves at York before the official start of the Fall term.

It’s Frosh Welcome Week and the fun is about to begin. After several meetings throughout the summer by the members of the York Orientation Directors Association – YODA, for short – the college student councils are ready to welcome first-year students and get them off on the right foot. With dozens of events filling the calendar from Sunday, Aug. 26, to Tuesday, Sept. 4, Frosh Welcome Week promises to be a busy time for new students and the members of York’s Student Community & Leadership Development office (SC&LD).

Brian Poser, manager, student success & retention, says the week is all about getting students engaged socially – within a safe and inclusive program of events ranging from simple ice-breaker get-togethers to all out water wars.

Right: 2006 Atkinson frosh enjoy the day

“Our office is here, primarily, to support and sustain a vibrant campus community,” says Poser. “Social and academic orientation events, as well as our pan-University events – the REDZone, Mature and Transfer Student Orientation, Parent Orientation, and the York Day Information Fair – are all aimed at assisting students and their families make a successful transition to university life.”

And while some of those events help students with their primary concern at university, successfully completing their degree, it’s the fun stuff that makes life-long memories, and keeps Poser and his staff on their toes in the weeks before classes begin. While individual colleges plan and organize their own events, the joint events committee of YODA helps them by mounting several pan-University events, which this year include a day and evening at Wild Water Kingdom (Aug. 30), a trip to see a Toronto Blue Jays baseball game (Aug. 31), and a Hypnosis Show (Aug. 27). The York Federation of Students is involved in event planning, too, this year sponsoring YFS Rocks the Frosh, a pan-University barbeque and spirit-filled cheer-off.

Left: Frosh at the Blue Jays

The folks at SC&LD also oversee Frosh Week “quality control”, in a manner of speaking. “We help to ensure that social orientation planners are aware of best practices in event design – so they are fun, safe, accessible – and that they have a solid grounding in University policies such as Temporary Use of University Space, Risk Management and food services to name a few.”

By working with all stakeholders, Poser’s office not only ensures that events meet York requirements, such as being alcohol free, for example, but helps organizers accomplish their goals. “A good deal of our time is spent helping to create the contact between student event organizers and the University offices on which they rely for support,” says Poser. “And we’re here to help problem solve when issues arise.”

Right: McLaughlin’s 2006 Dodge Ball event

One big advantage SC&LD gives student organizers is purchasing power and credibility. “We serve as a central clearinghouse for payments to service providers,” says Poser. “This helps ensure that big-ticket venues know we mean business, that they have a central contact, and that they’re paid from one source.”

Orientation touches virtually every service area of the campus – ask anyone at York and they’ve had something to do with making sure new York students get a great start to university life. “In the end, it’s about student success and making sure our new students feel part of our community and take part in the wealth of curricular and co-curricular pursuits,” says Poser.

Below is a brief rundown on some of the individual college social orientation events, which begin Sunday and culminate on Sept. 4 with the York Day Information Fair. Follow the links to each college’s Frosh Welcome Week Web site.

Frosh Week at York

Atkinson College’s Frosh Week has a Pirate theme, so be prepared for some high seas hi-jinx including a Treasure Hunt, the Great Pirate Dance, the Frosh Boss Improv and Karaoke, and the Avast ye! Water Fight (no swords, please). The week of salty fun, organized by the Atkinson Student Association, ends with a Stop Light Party, Atkinson’s Got Talent night and a Pajama Jam. The secret treasure map details are available online at the ASA Web site.

Bethune College’s Dragonweek 2007 will include a toga party, followed by the Waterwars and Torch Day at Passy Fields, in the southwest quadrant of Keele campus. After the fun, there’s a session titled “Sex and Alcohol 101” in the dining hall with singer Leah State. Other events include a battle of the bands, the Dragonweek party, and a boat cruise on the Wayward Princess. For more information, visit the Bethune College Council Web site.

Frosh Bosses at Calumet College will help unload your car on move-in day and point you to fun events such as the Junk Yard Wars, Electric Tee Party, the Imponderables comedy show and dinner, plus an Amazing Race and murder mystery dinner. Trip destinations include Ontario Place, Canada’s Wonderland, Toronto Harbour for a boat cruise and the college’s own “Temptation Island”. Visit the Calumet College Council Web site for full details.

Founders College has a full schedule of frosh happenings with a Greek theme, beginning with a Commuter & Rez barbecue and a toga workshop and party. Once you’ve learned how to make a toga and wear it, you’re all set for the “Anything but Clothes Costume Party” and the Battle of Nero water fight. Trip destinations include the Aegean Sea (okay, it’s Wasaga Beach), Canada’s Wonderland and The Sail of the FU boat cruise. Check out the details at the Founders College Council Web site.

Glendon College will greet its Frosh in both official languages, of course. Orientation Week activities include the Graffiti Pub Night, a scavenger hunt, lots of free food events and a movie night in the Quad. Learn more at the Glendon Frosh Week Web page.

McLaughlin College kicks off its Orientation Week with an Awkward-Fest and follows it up with something even more awkward – but fun – Sing Your Heart Out karaoke. The Anything But Clothes Costume Party with Founders College is included, followed by MAC Rocks the Courtyard, an Island Adventure and the Froshie Awards. Get the Mcdetails online at the McLaughlin College Council Web site.

The Schulich School of Business Frosh Week is organized by the Undergraduate Business Council, and begins with Summer Lunch, the key event in “a series of activities that will introduce you to the culture of the Schulich School of Business”. This year’s theme is the SSB Movie Awards, which is being billed as “a prime opportunity to jump headlong into the story and rinse the residue of high school off your palette.”

Stong College’s Frosh Week starts with a free lunch at the Orange Snail – and you can paint the table and windows where you eat, too, (just keep the red paint off your fries). Other events include a Pros vs Joes competition pitting frosh bosses against the frosh, an Insanium Cranium game, the Messy Game and the annual Stong Spartans vs. Bethune Dragons wars. For entertainment, try the Stongapalooza band night, then wake up in time the next day for the Condom Olympics (and no, it’s not what you’re thinking). A multi-college Fun Fair Carnival with Bethune and Calumet follows, and then it’s the Island Party at Bethune. On Thursday, the Stong Whirly Ball/Laser Tag tradition continues – it’s got bumper cars, whiffle balls, basketball hoops…you’ll figure it out.

Vanier College is starting its 40th annual Frosh Week with a war – a Trojan War to be exact. Once the fighting stops, there’s dinner and comedy improv skits by Vanier College Productions. Other froshie doings include an Outdoor Jam, water fights (back to the wars, eh?), a trip to Niagara Falls (wet again…), an Alumni-Frosh softball game, and a boat cruise. Find out more about getting all wet at the Vanier College Council Web site.

Winters College starts you off with Winters Cheers, the essential frosh tutorial on chanting for your college. The Alter Egos Quad Party begins a nightly series of frivolity in that square haven of happiness – except for the Night of the Living Dead movie night in the JCR on Thursday – then it’s back to the Quad where everything begins: a TTC orientation, summer blockbusters Quad party and, what else, a gathering in the Quad before heading out on a boat cruise. Get the details squared away at the Winters College Council Web site.

For more information on social and academic Orientation at York for students and parents, visit the Student Community & Leadership Development Orientation Web site.