An O-Week O-verview
Jessica Chisholm - September 11, 2012
O-Week always seems to go by quickly – and not just because it’s really only four days long.
No, it’s more just that the days are so busy for Dal’s newest students: a jam-packed agenda that’s all about building community, exploring the city and showcasing black and gold spirit.
With events in Halifax that included Black & Gold Nights, talks from Survivorman Les Straud and staff of Venus Envy, and a first-ever Fam Jam, there was something for everyone. And even the week-ending rain, which cancelled the closing rugby game, couldn’t dampen the spirits of Dal’s newest students as they hit the streets for Shinerama.
Here are just a few highlights from the week that was.
Cheering for glory at the Dalympics
In some ways, O-Week feels a bit like summer camp in the fall, with sleepy-eyed students awoken bright and early to get ready for the day ahead. And what better way to start the day than with a little friendly competition?
Following a Field Day-filled first day on Sunday—which Dal News covered in "Arrival and adventure on move-in day"—by 10 a.m. on Monday there was a sea of rainbow coloured T-shirts behind the Dalplex with each residence group, plus groups for off-campus students, gearing up for their chance to show their newfound spirit.
The O-Week leaders help make that spirit possible. When asked why she chose to be an orientation leader, third-year engineering student Jessica LeNoble replied that it’s “all about sharing school spirit and teaching arriving students what it’s like to be a true Dalhousie student.”
As the cheer-offs ramped up, you might think that larger residences like Risley, Howe and Shirreff Hall would have an advantage, but there was no doubting the fierce passion of smaller Halls like Eliza or O’Brien. Each residence had different dynamics and tactics in order to win over the judges. New Eddy Knights, who prevailed in the cheer-off, wielded cardboard swords and capes, while other residences simply relied on the power of the voice or megaphones. Musical instruments were also popular: drums, cowbells, horns.
Toronto native Bradly Vickers, a first-year commerce student, was all smiles while explaining his orientation experience thus far.
“It’s the perfect way to meet new students, and the activities instantly allow you to make new friends and build bonds between housemates,” he said, admitting that he’s not normally a school spirit guy, but he felt the O-Week experience was contagious.
On Tuesday, students were able to branch out from their respective residence groups for a while to attend faculty orientations, giving them the opportunity to become acquainted with senior students and professors in their chosen field of study.
In Arts and Social Sciences, close to 350 students were welcomed by David Matthias, assistant dean of student matters, and alumna Fiona Munro (BA’09) who spoke of her experiences as a history student. Students also took part in a Q&A with their peers from the Arts and Social Sciences Society (DASSS)
Afterwards, one new student was seen talking with Dean Robert Summerby-Murray about how the event opened her eyes to how all the subjects in FASS “fit together.” To say the dean was pleased would be an understatement.
Meanwhile, over in the Faculty of Computer Science, students were put to work – fun work, of course. Teams underwent a scavenger hunt challenge of sorts that had students exploring the building and their new surroundings while collecting points. Each team collected either a card or a clue at each "station" they visited, revealing more hidden objects and points. At any point during the competition one team could challenge another team to Tweetris: a large-screen Tetris game that collects information via tweets.
Hamming it up on Citadel Hill as part of HFXplore. (Martina Marien photo)
That afternoon, students took to the streets of Halifax for HFXplore, an Amazing Race style event introducing students to what Halifax has to offer. Activities included tasting coffee, making tea, and taking part in yoga.
And then on Wednesday, the week wound down with a very wet Shinerama. As is the case each year, Dal students hit the streets of Halifax to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis research. While the event was originally named because students shined shoes to collect money, it has been stretched to include a variety of activities, from push-up challenges, to busking and more. In total, more than $16,500 was raised in this year’s campaign.
Making the most of a wet Shinerama. (Danny Abriel photo)
And while O-Week may be over, that welcoming spirit isn't going anyway anytime soon: expect a big turnout to this year's DalFest, taking place on the Studley quad on September 14 and 15.