O-Week leaders excited for September
More leaders than ever this year
Katherine Wooler - April 4, 2012
“We’ve got spirit, yes we do! We’ve got spirit, how ‘bout you?!”
You could consider the cheer-off that happened last Saturday in the MacInnes room a practice of sorts: next year’s orientation leaders testing out their Tiger enthusiasm.
“An O-Week leader should have enthusiasm and a loud voice,” said orientation committee member Jessica Hiltz.
Almost 350 students have already signed up to be O-Week leaders for September 2012 – already more than last year in total. Some are returning leaders, some are trying it out for the first time and many are inspired to lead orientation after having a great experience during their own first year.
A team effort
Organizer Andrea Civitares is helping plan a bigger, better O-Week for 2012. The second-year neuroscience student hopes that September’s orientation will “incorporate as many different people from as many different walks of life as possible.”
“It sets the tone for the year – an amazing tone,” said Ms. Civitares.
Saturday’s meet-and-greet was designed as a way to talk about what worked (or didn’t) last year and bring forward new ideas for this upcoming orientation. The organizers, including incoming DSU Vice-President Student Life Gavin Jardine, are planning a more extensive Dalfest for this year’s O-Week.
“We want to make a spectacle,” said Mr. Jardine.
The students discussed many ideas for O-Week improvements: everything from more food, to more accommodating activities for international students, to new special guests and expanded events with community partners.
“I think everyone has something to bring to the table,” added Mr. Jardine.
Across the board, inclusivity is key: organizers want to create events that get students out and participating in campus life. Particularly important is hosting dry events to familiarize new students with campus life in a safe environment, dispelling the partying stigma that surrounds freshmen orientation.
“It should be a fun week that gets people out of their comfort zones and involved with the community,” added Mr. Jardine.
With the number of leaders having more than doubled since 2010, there will be a better ratio of leaders to first-years, helping avoid leader burnout. This news is comforting for first-year student Chelsi Wicks, whose discussion group was worried about “going and going and going all day.”
A gateway to campus life
Students at the meet-and-greet shared a common answer when asked what motivated them to sign up as O-Week leaders: the chance to be involved. Organizers agree, describing the leadership experience as a great way to make friends and network.
“It’s a gateway to a lot of other opportunities through the DSU and Dal community,” says Ms. Civitares.
The O-Week committee will plan throughout the summer to prepare for September’s incoming students. Leader training camp will run August 31-September 1, and Orientation Week will take place September 2-5.
How to get involved
Dalhousie students of any year and program can still apply to be a 2012 Orientation Week leader by filling out the online form on the DSU website. The deadline has been extended, and students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.