March Gala offers a glimpse into everything ‘York’

York University will welcome 6,000 potential students and their families to the Keele campus March Gala on Saturday, March 8. This annual event brings together York’s Faculties and services to showcase the York difference. Students have the opportunity to explore, encounter and experience the many reasons York should be seen as the right choice for their university education. The 2008 edition of March Gala is expected to be the best yet as it incorporates Web 2.0 e-media initiatives and some innovative new programming.

Above: Potential students and their families visit the welcome area in Vari Hall during last year’s March Gala

Among the new additions to March Gala 2008:

  • You’re invited!
    Applicants and prospective students to York were invited in two unique ways: with a formal invitation in the mail and a video invite by director of recruitment David Huckvale. A link to the video was e-mailed to applicants and prospective students. “This event is big and vibrant but it is also personal and intimate,” says Huckvale. “The video invitation gives them a sample of both and provides a first look at the people and activities they will encounter.”

Right: Visitors receive some advice on how to plan their day during last year’s March Gala

  • On-site training for volunteers
    This year, training for the many volunteers will extend to a tour of the day’s event locations and highlights to point out to guests.
  • Help in planning the day
    A video that walks guests through the most important things to do has been e-mailed to registrants of the event and it will also play during the event. “We want visitors to be able to have all the necessary tools to make the most out of their day. The Plan Your Day video provides practical advice on how to navigate the breadth of activities offered so our guests don’t miss a thing.” says Huckvale. See the video here.
  • Expanded concurrent programming
    The Office for Persons with Disabilities, partnering with community health organizations, will host a York University Open House. The Open House will provide information specific to high-school students with a physical disability who are thinking of attending university.
  • Transportation Zone
    The many ways to access York will be highlighted in the Transportation Zone in Central Square. Representatives from TTC, YRT/VIVA, Go Transit, Zipcar and Smart Commute will be on hand to share information.
  • See you again
    As guests say farewell for the day, they’ll receive an invitation to Admissions next event, the E-Party, that includes an online chat and other activities.

The most unexpected change to March Gala is the number of current students volunteering to show off the campus. More than 300 students have signed up to don red York University jackets, answer questions and help guests navigate. This is up from the 150 volunteers just last year. “The volunteer interest has been phenomenal,” says Shelby Verboven, manager of on-campus recruitment & special events in Admissions. “This really shows us that current students are eager to share their York experience with others. Many of our volunteers tell us that they remember attending the gala when they were in high school and know how powerful and impactful the day can be for students still trying to decide which university to attend.”

Above: Each year current York students volunteer for March Gala

The highlight of the day promises to be the 10 undergraduate Faculty zones. Students will have an opportunity to sample what York’s diverse Faculties have to offer. As well, some March Gala favourites are back including the Experience the Rainforest room offering interactive displays, photos, plants and Las Nubes coffee bringing the Costa Rican research centre to life; the Parents’ Lounge where parents can browse resources and materials just for them; workshops in the Student Life Zone to help applicants prepare for university; and the Student Services Information Fair.

An exclusive group of top applicants from across Canada will also have the opportunity to attend the Circle of Scholars Breakfast at The Underground. The breakfast, which takes place prior to the March Gala, will give students and their guests an opportunity to meet some of York’s current top students and professors, as well as Rob Tiffin, York’s vice-president students, and Mamdouh Shoukri, York president & vice-chancellor.

If applicants are unable to attend the gala, York will offer a program of special information sessions and tours from March 10 to14. More information is available at the March Gala Web site.

The Keele campus March Gala will be held Saturday, March 8, from 10am to 2:30pm, and the Glendon Gala happens the next day, Sunday, March 9, 10:30am to 3:15pm.