Butterflies abound at the beginning of a new academic year — fluttering through both the late-summer air and the stomachs of Dal’s excited new students.
Whether making a first trip to Canada or walking down the block from a Halifax home, hundreds of first-year students are anticipating the brand new set of possibilities that come with a fresh start at university.
Orientation helps students embrace those possibilities and get comfortable on campus. Over the next week, both the Dalhousie Student Union and the university host a series of events meant to introduce students to campus places, people and services.
"The biggest thing we want students to get out of O-week is that they're welcome at Dal, that Dal is a place where they can be themselves and really find a sense of community," says Kelsey Keddy, vice-president student life of the Dalhousie student union. "We want students to be ready for classes and academics, but I think the O-week portion is more about helping them settle in and get comfortable on campus."
Engaged and excited
Orientation for international students is already underway in Halifax, beginning Tuesday this week, and this Friday the Agricultural Campus hosts its International Welcome Day. Graduate student orientation is on on Thursday, as is Able@Dal — an orientation for Dalhousie students who are receiving academic accommodations due to a permanent disability.
Also, on on Thursday and Friday, Dal is hosting Summer Orientation sessions that give students a “head start” in exploring campus and preparing for success in their first year. The Dalhousie Bookstore and DalCard offices also host Community Night on Thursday, keeping their doors open until 8 p.m.
Then, it’s the kickoff for DSU and Agricultural Campus Orientation Weeks. While the new academic schedule this year means classes start Tuesday (two days earlier than in the past), O-Week is adjusting by getting underway on Saturday, September 3 — and, in Halifax, the DSU is hosting evening activities through the first week of classes.
On the first day (Saturday) in Halifax, practical matters like move-in and registration for students living in residence share the schedule with social events such as an afternoon Field Party, a concert showcasing East Coast musical flavour and a low-key event at the on-campus Grawood pub (which, like all of Orientation, is dry throughout) that includes trivia and lip-sync battles. In Truro, highlights include residence move-in, a welcome lunch, an alumni-sponsored supper and an evening bonfire.
The fun continues on Sunday, September 4. Students at the Agricultural Campus can attend events with the theme of diversity, inclusiveness, respect and health. An afternoon ice cream social and an evening trip to a corn maze round out the social activities. In Halifax, students can participate in a cheer-off between residence houses, get active at the Dalympics or get arty with painting, music and theatre games. In the evening, the Halifax store Venus Envy will host an enlightening talk about sex, while students can also choose from a menu of activities that includes glow-in-the-dark Frisbee with Dal After Dark.
On Labour Day Monday, Halifax students can scarf down a pancake breakfast and participate in interactive workshops at the Dal 101 event in the morning. Shine Day follows in the afternoon, with students venturing out into the community to raise funds for cystic fibrosis. Then, that night, the men’s rugby team takes the field for a game against Acadia. Students in Truro mark Labour Day with a pancake breakfast and a Dalhousie 101 session of their own, followed by an introduction to student services, clubs and athletics at the Agricultural Campus. A country fair and draws for prizes round out the agenda.
Bringing the Dal community together
Orientation weekend comes to a close with Induction — a formal “welcome to the family” celebration for Dal’s newest students. The Halifax Induction ceremony takes place at 7 p.m. at the Dalhousie Arts Centre, while the Truro ceremony will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 6, following a shortened first day of classes. All are welcome to attend!
There are events that continue into September to help new and returning students settle into the community and celebrate being a part of it. Among the DSU events during the first week of classes are an outdoor movie, a campus-wide glow “capture the flag” game and a DJ dance party on the Studley Quad.
Check out the complete schedule of DSU events, university-hosted activities and events at the Agricultural Campus.
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