O‑Week celebrates city built "on black and gold"

Activities for new students in Halifax and Truro

- August 30, 2012

Last year's new Tigers show their claws during Orientation Week. (Danny Abriel photo)
Last year's new Tigers show their claws during Orientation Week. (Danny Abriel photo)

Last year, Rolling Stone readers named Starship’s “We Built This City” the worst song of the 1980s, in one of the largest margins of victory in the history of the magazine’s online polls.

Of course, members the incoming Dalhousie Class of 2016 weren’t even alive in the 1980s, so they’re in a better position than most to reclaim the oft-derided anthem and repurpose it for their own ends.

Hence: “We Built this City on Black and Gold,” the theme of this year’s Dalhousie Student Union Orientation Week events.

Dubbed both “ROARientation” and, more commonly, “O-Week,” the set of DSU-led events pairs with university-hosted activities to make for a memorable welcome to campus for the newest members of the Dal community, whether they’re living in residence or off-campus.

Learn more: DSU "ROAR-ientation" website (student union events)
Learn more: Dalhousie Orientation website

For international students at Dal’s Halifax campuses, orientation is already underway: the International Centre kicked off a three-day orientation on Thursday for new students coming to Dal from around the world.

Four days of fun

The rest of Dal’s newest Halifax students join in the fun on Sunday, with residence move-in starting at 9 a.m. and a giant field party on the Studley Quad for all in the afternoon: music, food, giant tricycles, bouncy castles and more. And don’t worry about keeping the parents occupied: the university hosts Family and Friends info sessions throughout the day to answer any questions that family members and others might have about life at Dal. The evening winds down with a Black and Gold Party in the Student Union Building. (Note that all orientation events are dry.)

Monday is set aside for the Dalympics: a rip-roaring showdown between houses with belly flops, human checkers and more. Then that evening, Survivorman Les Straud will speak in the McInnes Room, followed by a presentation by Halifax sex shop Venus Envy and House Socials in residence.

On Tuesday morning, each of Dal’s faculties hosts its own orientation event, a chance for students to meet their profs and faculty-mates and get a handle on the exciting things in store for the academic year. Afterwards comes a yearly highlight of O-Week: the induction ceremony, dubbed “Welcome to the Fam,” where students are officially welcomed into the Dal community. (Oh: and they get scarves and ice cream too!). That afternoon is HFXplore—a chance to see what the surrounding city has to offer—followed by a first-ever O-Week “Fam Jam” at Dalplex in the evening.

Wednesday is Shinerama day when, as every year, Dal students will take to the streets to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis research. It’s followed in the evening by an epic rugby showdown between Dal and Acadia and a concert by the Mellotones at the Grawood.

A Truro welcome

This will also be the first year that Dalhousie welcomes students in Truro-Bible Hill, with the Faculty of Agriculture (formerly NSAC) and a new Agricultural Campus joining the Dal community in September. Like in Halifax, international students are already on campus, taking part in their own orientation activities. New students will be arriving to move into residence on Sunday, before taking part in icebreakers, info sessions and a big woodlot bonfire to close the evening.

Learn more: Agriculture orientation

Other orientation activities taking place at the Agricultural Campus include an alumni bale sculpting contest, a famously-large slip and slide and a trip to the Riverbreeze Corn Maze.  

Orientation lead Monica Sani says it will be the same sort of community-based welcome that students at NSAC have come to expect over the years.

“Traditionally, the AC has offered programming that combines academic and service orientation, as well as time for all new students to become familiar with each other,” says orientation lead Monica Sani. “By the end of the week, our new students know campus, Truro and Bible Hill, their faculty and staff by name and have made lifelong friends.”


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