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First-year students geared for success from Orientation

Orientation 2010

By: Sarah Taguiam

From September 7 to 10, UTSC held its annual Orientation, “Team UTSC: For the Win,” welcoming a new school year and a new chapter in freshmen’s lives.

“This year’s Orientation was exceptional,” says John Arudalson, president of the SCSU, “It definitely exceeded everyone’s expectations,” as reflected through the 1,800 students, volunteers, leaders and faculty members who were involved in the festivities.

Student participation increased to 1,400, surpassing last year’s numbers by 200. Participation from volunteers also increased to 200, or 25% over last year, and the number of faculty involved in events to 90 members.

“Orientation is a very important ritual in students’ lives,” comments Desmond Pouyat,Dean of Student Affairs. “It gives them a glimpse of how the next four years will be.”

Liza Arnason, director of Student Life agrees, saying that it is “a great starting ground” for the students to jumpstart their lives in university as it not only gives them a chance to forge bonds with their peers and meet their future mentors but also introduces them to the services available on campus.

Everyone involved did their best to welcome the first-years to their new home, showing the kind of support they can expect during their years ahead in UTSC.A tent was set up where Departmental Student Organizations encouraged memberships of new students for the purpose of enhancing their academic experience. While various performance groups and student-run clubs greeted the freshmen at each stop of their campus tours, exposing them to the more social aspect of university.

A lot of hard work was put into Orientation as the SCSU and the Department of Student Life, who have been planning since last November, and asking for feedback from past participants.

“We wanted to have an Orientation that will enhance the freshman experience, therefore, we made several significant changes,” says Arudalson.

Some of the enhancements this year included making Orientation a four-dayevent to allow students to immerse themselves deeper into the UTSC culture. Students were able to unwind at the carnival, which was complete with rock-climbing walls, mini-golf and inflatable obstacle courses and dance their way through new events such as the Foam Party and the party at The Guvernment. The freshmen also partook in longstanding traditions through watching presentations like the Hypnotist Show and the Funny Money Presentation and witnessing the talents of other their fellow students in the Mini-Mosaic.

These changes aimed to better showcase what UTSC is all about and capture the evolution that the University has undergone through the past years. But it does not stop there, as this week was only the beginning, a sample of more to come.

“A good Orientation is one that is able to carry on the freshman experience well beyond Orientation week,” which Pouyat asserts is a philosophy on which UTSC is grounded on.

Right after Orientation, the SCSU and Department of Student Life will be busy planning more events, eager to continue the momentum and excitement from the week.

“I believe this is the best Orientation so far,” says Arnason. “All throughout the week students were saying, ‘Oh I made the right choice!’They feel like this is home and that is what Orientation is supposed to do - give students a sense that they belong.”

 

More information can be found at: http://scsu.ca/orientation. To view the photos of Orientation highlights visit: http://photography.utsc.utoronto.ca/zenphoto/index.php




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