Welcome Week orientation connects new students to York

That roll of drums, those chants and cheers you hear herald the thousands of first-year students who are arriving at York University’s Keele and Glendon campuses to participate in Welcome Week activities.

Welcome Week, which began on Sunday, Aug. 24 with new students moving into residence, continues until Monday, Sept. 1. During York’s Welcome Week, first year students will orient themselves to the University before the official start of the fall term on Wednesday, Sept. 3.

Organized by the York Orientation Directors Association (YODA), the college councils of Atkinson, Bethune, Calumet, Founders, Glendon, McLaughlin, Stong, Vanier, Winters and the Schulich School of Business, have been busy planning a host of activities designed to welcome first-year students to York and help them get into university life.

Right: McLaughlin College’s orientation includes its traditional water fight. First-year students work with Mac’s Frosh Bosses to prepare their armour during last year’s Welcome Week.

Dozens of events, from water balloon fights to trips to local attractions, have been planned for first-years by the intrepid YODA crew and college councils. Welcome Week at York promises and delivers on lots of good fun and solid advice designed to steady the nerves of first-year students.

Behind the scenes guiding academic and social orientation activities are a trusty crew of experienced members of York’s Centre for Student Community & Leadership Development (SC&LD).

"Orientation is fundamentally about getting students out of their shells and into the excitement and energy of first year. We’re individually and collectively interested in taking the frustration out of first year," said Frank Cappadocia, director of SC&LD.

Right: Stong students show their spirit during York’s 2007 Welcome Week

The week is designed to help students engage socially and academically, within the parameters of a safe, all-inclusive program of events. Students learn all about the many academic supports made available to them by the University. They also get to have fun and meet students from other colleges during quad parties and other pan-University and team events.

"Orientation is an opportunity for students to connect to York on many levels," said Cappadocia. "It’s about establishing friendships, building networks, identifying solutions to new challenges –  for many students, orientation can be a life changing experience."

Left: Quad parties mix first-year students from different colleges in a fun, safe environment

Cappadocia and his staff oversee all the events ensuring that orientation remains fun and safe. Orientation leaders or Frosh Bosses as they are otherwise known, receive social orientation and safety training. (See the Aug. 7 issue of YFile.) All Welcome Week events are designated as "dry" meaning no alcohol is allowed.

All of the colleges offer events designed to bring students commuting to campus into the fun. Overnight sleepovers, quad parties and trips to Wonderland, a Toronto harbour boat cruise and a Wasaga Beach party are just some of the great activities on the schedule, all designed to familiarize first-years with everything York and the surrounding communities have to offer.

A full schedule of all academic and social orientation events linked to each college is available on the Welcome Week orientation Web page.