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Orientation events for first-year students a success

HAVING FUN: Orientation 2008 drew a record number of first-year students who participated in a wide variety of events and activities at U of T Scarborough. (Photo by Peter Yeung.)

by Rob Wulkan

Eagerness ... excitement ... anticipation.

Those were the feelings expressed by the more than 1,200 first-year students who came flooding on to the University of Toronto Scarborough campus for Orientation 2008.

Orientation is an annual event run by the Scarborough Campus Students' Union (SCSU) in collaboration with the University of Toronto Scarborough that takes place over multiple days in the week preceding the start of classes. The purpose of this event is to provide first-year students with a fun and engaging introduction to the campus, the services that are offered here and perhaps, most importantly, each other.

The theme of this year's Orientation was Superheroes. Onlookers would have noticed everything from caped crusaders to fairies running around as group leaders dressed up and shouted cheers at the top of their lungs.

“Spirit is such a huge part of what frosh week is all about,” says student Pranavi Ravichandran. She served as Orientation coordinator this fall.

“The Orientation experience should be one that leaves you pumped up and excited and proud to be a U of T Scarborough student,” Ravichandran. To this end, three consecutive days of activities were organized in early September. They featured a mix of traditional events such as the SCAA (Scarborough College Athletics Association) Games -- an array of interactive sporting events -- and the Casey St. Jones Hypnotist Show, as well as new ones.

The novel events included the Carnival, in which the interior and exterior of the Student Centre were transformed, and campus groups converged to set up a wide variety of games and activities. These included everything from a psychic booth to a dunk tank, complete with the presence of two radio stations, Fusion Radio from on campus and Z1035, a local FM station, which kept the music blasting.

“The carnival was something new that we tried and it turned out to be a huge success,” recalls Ravichandran. “We even had problems getting the students to move onto the next event after that because everyone was having such a good time.”

Combining the themes of fun and heroism, U of T Scarborough “frosh” took to the streets of Toronto later in the week. On Friday September 5, the students came out in full force to raise money for the Shinerama campaign, which benefits the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

“Shinerama is an annual tradition that combines a civic good with something that people have a lot of fun doing,” she adds, “Namely, making a lot of noise and ensuring that the entire downtown core knows that we're there” she adds.

This year the Shinerama team set and reached its goal and raised $15,000, making this the top grossing Shinerama campaign in U of T Scarborough history. “This is really

something to be proud of,” she says. “The amount of effort that the Shinerama committee put into this event really paid off.”

With Orientation 2008 now finished and classes under way, it is easy to see the impact and the friendships that have been forged over these three days flourishing as one looks around in the hallways of this campus.

“The first-year students had an amazing time,” says Ravichandran. “Orientation is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Well, at least until they come back as leaders next year!”

Rob Wulkan is a philosophy student at U of T Scarborough. He served as president of the SCSU in 2007-2008.

© University of Toronto Scarborough