All Posts Tagged With: "frosh week"
To really reduce drinking, hit students where it hurts
The City of Ottawa has decided to tackle binge drinking among young adults, but I think their campaign is unlikely to be effective.
Indeed, drinking is a problem in the city. Binge drinking rose by nine per cent between 2000 and 2011 and causes 110 deaths and 970 hospitalizations per year among Ottawa adults, according to Ottawa Public Health. Three quarters of young adult males reported binge drinking, defined as more than five drinks in one sitting.
All this isn’t surprising. During frosh week, for example, drinking culture is celebrated among a fresh crop of students. University of Ottawa student organizers send willing first-years to Hull, Quebec where the drinking age is 18 and they can toast their new found freedom. While there are also non-drinking frosh events, turnout is low.
Continue reading City of Ottawa to promote ‘culture of moderation’
Photos from the annual orientation week event
Photographer Jessica Darmanin immersed herself in the University of Toronto’s “battle of the colleges” and Clubs Showcase last week. She also visited Ryerson University’s parade and is in the Atlantic provinces right now. Check out her shots of U of T students flaunting their school spirit:
Ryerson students shake it at annual parade
It was a beautiful sunny orientation week in Toronto and Maclean’s photographer Jessica Darmanin took the opportunity to visit some of the local events. First up are her photos from Ryerson University’s parade and fair. Tomorrow we’ll have shots from the University of Toronto. Not in TO? Don’t feel left out. Darmanin is traipsing across the Atlantic provinces with her camera this week.
Where to catch Arkells, Yukon Blonde, Das Racist
The first week is, for most students, one of the most memorable (okay, well, sort of memorable) weeks of university. It’s summer camp without tearful goodbyes; school without the schoolwork.
Part of the reason it’s so memorable is that between the cheers and the beers many orientation weeks also manage to squeeze in pretty decent live music. Here are five notable bands topping froshweek bills from coast to coast:
Photos: More than 1,000 gather for orientation event
Ryerson University broke the Guinness World Record for the most cowbell ringers today. Crowds gathered on the quad under sunny skies for the Orientation Week event. The university says it counted 1,003 participants, meaning they obliterated the previous Swiss record of 640.
5,083-kilogram achievement part of Orientation Week
A fruit salad the size of a small swimming pool has claimed a world record for Montreal’s McGill University.
The 5,038-kilogram concoction dethroned Fresno State University on Tuesday for the Guinness World Record for the biggest fruit salad ever.
Volunteers sliced and diced their way through mountains of food, most of it grown at McGill’s Macdonald Campus Farm.
Among the fruit going into the mix was 2,250 kilograms of watermelon, 1,012 kilograms of pineapple and 162 kilograms of strawberries.
Tips from a student who couldn’t wait for orientation to end
This time last year I was nervously anticipating orientation, also known as frosh week or “Week of Welcome” here at the University of Alberta.
I thought that the first week would be an accurate indication of how life would be over the next few years. I was wrong and I’m glad about that, because while there were parts of orientation I enjoyed, I honestly couldn’t wait for it to be over.
Here are five reasons my welcome week sucked and what I wish universities would do instead.
1: Quit it with the blaring house music!
Before my first day of school, I’d never heard Party Rock Anthem before. That changed fast. At first it wasn’t that bad, but after LMFAO announced that “Party Rock was in the house tonight” in almost every building I set foot in, I nearly lost it. Hearing that song over and over again was especially inconvenient when I was trying to talk to people I’d just met, or concentrate on academic stuff.
For the sake of we non-party-rockers, why not keep the club atmosphere all in one area?
You’ve moved into residence. Now what?
1. Go downtown. Then find your way back.
You’ll end up downtown at some point. You may not be sober the first time. Spend some daylight hours riding the bus along the essential routes, so that you can find your way back in the dark. Write down the numbers of the bus routes that take you to the entertainment areas and back. Find out when the last bus leaves from downtown for the school. Look for landmarks near stops. Store the info in your phone or on paper in your wallet.
2. Pick up a free agenda
Most student unions hand out free agendas with important dates already printed in them. If you loathe paper, get one anyway and transfer the dates into your web calendar or smartphone.
Collaborative street party will be “biggest ever” for downtown Windsor
The University of Windsor is teaming up with St. Clair College and the Windsor City Centre Entertainment Association to throw a huge downtown street party to kick off the beginning of the new September semester. This will be the first time the two schools will have collaborated for a major frosh party.
The $100,000 event, for which downtown business owners have chipped in $20,000, will be daylong and feature notable performers including Grammy Award-winning DJ Benny Benassi. Sections of Ouellette and University avenues will be closed to accommodate the party spokesman Renaldo Agostino calls the “biggest street party in the history of downtown Windsor.”
The event is scheduled for September 6 and will be free for all students.
Most first-year students can’t legally drink
Queen’s University, the site of at least two alcohol-related deaths last year, will ban alcohol entirely from residences during Frosh Week — even for those who have reached the legal drinking age, reports the Queen’s Journal.
University officials told the Journal that 92 per cent of first-year students in residence are under the legal drinking age anyway.
The Alcohol Working Group came up with the idea, stating the ban would “clearly signal Queen’s commitment to reducing alcohol-related harm, particularly at a critical transitional time when the risk of alcohol misuse among 1st year students has been known to be high (with a tragic alcohol-related accidental death of one resident during Orientation week in 2010).”
Coroner Roger Skinner recommended a review of campus alcohol policies after determining that the 2010 deaths of Cameron Bruce, who fell out of a window on the sixth-floor of a residence, and Habib Khan, who died after falling through a skylight, were alcohol-related.
Students caught with alcohol during Frosh Week will will be given “educational assignments” and watch their alcohol be poured out.
The normal rules that allow drinking among those of legal age will return Sept. 11.
Graduate student residences will not face the new rule.
The tragic death of a Queen’s student has renewed calls for a crackdown that is already well under way
Natasha Zapanta, a cheery first-year Queen’s University business student in a perfectly manicured first-week outfit, won’t be telling her grandchildren about any Old School-worthy hijinks. Frosh week for this 17-year-old involved scavenger hunts, a video dance party and “Commerce Cares”—random acts of kindness visited upon unsuspecting fellow students by commerce freshmen. “There was nighttime partying,” she admits, “but we just stayed in the residence hall.” Most of her friends are also 17, below Ontario’s legal drinking age and, while alcohol is readily available, they’ve been warned not to indulge.
For biochemistry major Connor Forbes, the week was so low-key it threatened to dampen that famous Queen’s school spirit altogether. The gloom extended even to the engineering faculty, where students were this year banned from the school’s ancient move-in day tradition, in which engineers paint themselves purple and taunt incoming freshmen. Engineering society president Victoria Pleavin, citing complaints, sent an email to all engineering students warning them that anyone caught engaged in the practice would be escorted off campus. “Move-in day was really an introduction to the fun of the school and gave you a sense of community,” says Forbes. “The event is gone and we don’t know if it’s coming back. They took it away.”
Such moves followed a raft of measures taken by Queen’s administrators aimed at taming the furor surrounding frosh week—and, it seems, everything else too. Last year, the university cancelled its infamously out-of-control homecoming event, which newspapers have become fond of noting cost over $200,000 to police. Queen’s also vowed to curb freshmen excesses by stamping out the likes of “Slosh the Frosh” and “Sauce the Boss” because, according to senate meeting minutes last year, they “put students at risk.” The clampdown is, depending on your politics, already a success. Says John Pierce, interim associate VP and dean of student affairs: “By last Thursday, I was getting reports that, ‘Well—jeez!—frosh is going better than it has before!’ ”
And yet even these stringent measures could not prevent tragedy. Last Monday, Queen’s students on their way to rugby practice discovered the body of Cameron Bruce, an 18-year-old freshman from Connecticut, on the lawn outside his residence, just hours before he was to start classes. The night before, Bruce had attended an engineering banquet—a sort of last hurrah to end engineering frosh week. After dinner, he walked back to residence with friends. What happened next is still shrouded in mystery: police suspect no foul play, and they’re investigating whether alcohol played a role in the incident.
News of the death brought the inevitable newspaper editorial: “Be it the mass drunkenness of Aberdeen Street or young people getting a dubious initiation to booze in peer-pressure-filled orientation activities,” wrote the Kingston Whig-Standard, “the greater community has long quietly wondered: what will it take for Queen’s to do something about this? Does someone have to die?” The incident’s significance was not lost on students: “I think it’s the beginning of the end of frosh week,” one told Maclean’s.
No, actually. It’s the end of frosh, full stop—not just at Queen’s, but everywhere. A generation of children raised in an era so risk-averse that schools ripped seesaws, parallel bars and fireman’s poles from playgrounds has come of age and gone to university. The halcyon days, when freshers set cars and couches ablaze and guzzled beer at university-sanctioned keggers, now grow dim and will soon become distant memories. Many schools have retired the word “frosh” altogether, preferring less festive words like “orientation”; at the University of Ottawa, freshmen are referred to by the tin-eared sobriquet of “101er.” Official first-week events are now mounted sans booze. A handful of U.S. colleges are entirely dry. The University of Guelph this year, for the first time, made residences alcohol-free zones during frosh week. It’s a revolution some students call a “war on fun.”
As the first day of school approaches, more and more questions begin to worry the minds of first timers. Here’s a little information to put yourself at ease.
As the first day of school approaches, more and more questions begin to worry the minds of first timers. Here’s a little information to put yourself at ease.
Admin wants a more academic-oriented experience for new students
Despite a firm stance by administration over controversy surrounding control over Carleton’s frosh week, student groups vow to keep the annual event controlled by students.
Amid exam writing, Carleton students have gathered twice on the Ottawa campus in past weeks to protest the recent decision by administration to assume control of frosh week, starting next year. The administration informed student organizers of their decision via an e-mail sent by director of student affairs Ryan Flannagan.
The e-mail, addressed to the Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) and the Rideau River Residence Association (RRRA), who have historically run frosh, commented on the “limited accountability for volunteers,” and a “lack of academic focus,” RRRA president Chris Infantry told the Charlatan.
Though he wouldn’t give a specific example, Flannagan told Maclean’s concern was raised over conduct by orientation volunteers at last year’s frosh.
“Leadership from orientation last year wasn’t exercising appropriate leadership and appropriate accountability with respect to how the orientation program was delivered last year,” he said. “We want our program to be aligned with other universities.” He said that most Canadian universities typically have control over frosh week. “The university has liability for the program so it’s appropriate the university has the accountability for it,” he said.
While they will have control over the planning, the administration is looking at ways to partner with current orientation planners to bring more accountability and academic-focused activities to the week, Flannagan said.
While student leaders have argued the point of frosh week is to meet peers through ice-breaking activities, such as the canal group games and beach day, a press release issued by the school stated new events proposed by the administration include “a student success panel, a theatre play put on ‘surviving university,’ key note speakers, workshops on campus engagement and volunteering, and information on academic integrity.”
The release also makes special note that Shinerama, the nationwide frosh week fundraiser to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis research will still be a key element of the week.
But incoming CUSA president Alex Sirois said student’s will have plenty of time to participate in academics during the four years they are students at Carleton. What’s more important is for new students to adjust to their new surroundings. “Carleton residence is your new home and Carleton is your new home and to be able to meet your new family is something that is very important,” he said.
Sirois said the decision was unexpected after administration participated in frosh week preparation, including the hiring of orientation volunteer leaders, something Flannagan said has been true of the past two years. “It’s pretty disgusting of them to do,” Sirois said.
Sirois says CUSA is looking to run an independent orientation for incoming students. He said their biggest obstacle to running frosh without administration approval would be the events normally held on campus, like the end-of-week concert would have to find a new venue. Typically, 50 per cent of frosh events are held on campus, he said. He said ideally the student leaders would like to see the frosh take place as normal, even with admin overseeing and finalizing all decisions. But, where the two groups differ, Sirois said, is over the types of activities they will introduce to new students.
The press release indicates the approximately 400 frosh volunteers who had already signed up to participate in running next year’s frosh are still welcome to continue that role.
As for funding, Sirois said the administration would still be looking to CUSA and RRRA to fund the week, but Flannagan said it’s a choice they’ll have to make. “We’re not going to ask CUSA to do anything financially or volunteer-wise unless they want to do it,” Flannagan said. He explained that 90 per cent of the money for frosh comes from voluntary student registration for the events, and he said the administration would use the same funding model for next year’s frosh.
Last year’s frosh week cost $135,000, RRRA president Chris Infantry told the Charlatan.
Flannagan’s e-mail also said the university’s decision is partly based on poor student participation in events. A survey released by Carleton’s Office of Institutional Research and Planning shows 61.8 per cent of first year undergraduates sampled participated in last year’s frosh week.
Of those who participated, just over 60 per cent said their overall satisfaction was “high,” 25.2 per cent said it was “medium” and 14.4 per cent said it was “low.”
Flannagan said increasing numbers over time is one of the administration’s goals. But for next year, if CUSA and RRRA decided to run a separate frosh off campus, numbers may be lower than they hope for, he said.
LipDub réalisé durant la semaine d’initiations avec 172 étudiants en communication de l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).
Welcome to Alt 101
About eight years ago, Sebastien Labelle found himself hunched over a massive sheet of paper, plunging his tongue into globs of paint and smearing the non-toxic mess around in the name of art.
And so began Labelle’s university experience.
The goal of the unsavoury exercise was to be part of the winning team that painted with the most imaginative body part.
Labelle’s team won. But it was some posterior posturing that ultimately clinched the victory.
“My teammate painted with his butt,” says Labelle with a chuckle, adding quickly, “on two different ends of the paper.”
This questionable version of preschool fingerpainting was part of frosh week at the Universite du Quebec, where Labelle eventually earned a BA in visual arts.
“(Frosh week) certainly allowed a chance to meet and make friends within the group of students who were also studying arts,” says Labelle, now 30.
“But it never really offered me a chance to get to know Hull – the town where I was studying – very well, and it took me a long time to get to know the community itself.”
Now studying at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Labelle is showing like-minded students how to make meaningful connections beyond their “isolated” campuses through Alt 101 – an alternative to frosh week he helps organize.
Unlike its traditional counterpart, Alt 101 runs for an entire month and is open to all students from universities throughout Halifax, regardless of whether they’re freshmen.
We examine how much students really drink, which province parties the hardest–and how to consume safely
It’s frosh week. You’re standing on the front lawn of a house when a headless mannequin flies through a second-story window in a shower of glass and lands at your feet. Loud dance music can be heard through the hole in the glass.
A staggering student passes as you walk up the front steps, across the beer keg-strewn front porch and through the front door, where you find yourself in a riotous party. Students mingle, empty beer cans are scattered everywhere and unidentified objects periodically fly across the room. A student crushes an empty beer can on his forehead. A motorcycle bursts through the front doors and flies up the stairs to the landing, where the rider opens a beer and hands it to the stunned freshman he just nearly ran over.
It’s a typical scene from frosh week at a Canadian university, no? We all know that students are a bunch of irresponsible drunks, don’t we?
The sophisticated 1970s film connoisseur should have identified the above as the opening scene in Animal House. In order to figure out how much the Animal House stereotype is merely perception, Maclean’s OnCampus looked to the latest available research to determine just how much students really drink and which province parties the hardest.
During frosh week festivities it may seem like everyone on campus is partaking in more than their share of booze, but the reality is that the drunken second-year student you saw passed out on the couch at that house party is in the minority. According to a survey commissioned by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 32 per cent of students reported hazardous drinking (which means experiencing symptoms like blacking out or feeling guilty). On the other hand, fifty-eight percent of students never drink more than five drinks in a sitting, and 38 percent of them drink less often than once per week.
It is, of course, true that most students drink; over 85 per cent of students reported drinking during the previous 12 months. But the revelers around you at that house party most likely drink less than you think. A number of researchers have found that students have an inflated perception of how much their fellow students consume. At the University of British Columbia, for example, 67 per cent thought the typical student had had five or more drinks the last time they partied, while in reality only 24 per cent of students actually did. In fact, at UBC 64 per cent of students never drink five or more drinks in one sitting and one in ten students have never tried alcohol at all.
As the awkward socializing of Frosh Week ends, the real stuff beings
The whirlwind that is Frosh Week (variously called Orientation Week, First Week, etc), is now officially over. It was certainly an interesting week, meeting dozens of people every day, hearing the same 2 questions over and over (what’s your major, where are you from), staying up ’till at least 3 a.m. every night, sometimes 6. Initial awkwardness (clearly not an issue for this guy) gradually warmed to tepid familiarity and was even heated to boisterous enthusiasm on those rare occasions when the drinks began to flow – responsibly and moderately, of course. Other than the incessant socializing, I signed up for about 10 different clubs, from debate to intramural soccer; learned the requisite school cheers and attended countless orientations and tours.
To celebrate the end of the party and the beginning of university in earnest, a Matriculation Ceremony formally welcomed the class of 2013 to the College, complete with speeches in Latin, formal gowns, and the official signing of the College register by all new students. There were also speeches in English, some of which were quite inspiring. One of them, made by a newly confirmed Honorary Fellow of the College, struck me as particularly pertinent.
He reminded us that attending university in a country like Canada is a privilege and an accomplishment and that with both must come responsibility. As we celebrate the beginning of a new age in our lives, and at the risk of sounding preachy, I think it’s important to remember that us Freshmen (and women!) are indeed in a fortunate position to contribute to society in a positive way.
With that in mind, (a mind forgivably clouded at times, perhaps, by the many distractions a Freshman inevitably encounters), let’s celebrate this dawning of a new age in our lives. At least until the homework starts.
Three o-week veterans give us their advice on how to survive frosh
I’ll admit it; I didn’t really participate in the university-sponsored orientation activities when I was in first year. Granted, I stopped by for the cheap food and free pens, but when the circle-sitting and name games started, I knew I had to leave.
Last year, however, I applied to be a Frosh leader (called a “ROC” at Ryerson) and by some administrative error (I kid, of course) I was accepted. I conceded to the idea that this shiny new line on my resume would cost me four days of nausea-inducing icebreakers and embarrassing Ryerson cheers. I was pleasantly surprised, however, and in the end I had an amazing time.
I think my good fortune had a lot to do with the fact that my co-ROC, Chen, and I were given a fantastic group of first-years. We seemed to bond almost instantly, taking in all the O-Week activities and discovering a few of our own (including an impromptu visit to Toronto’s Stag Shop and exploring Chinatown’s underground eats.).
For incoming students, O-Week can be an invaluable experience. Katie Blodgett and Jason Grossman, two of Ryerson’s O-Team members, certainly think so. I posed some questions to these orientation-enthusiasts to find out a little more about what’s planned for this year. Though Katie and Jason refer specifically to Ryerson’s O-Week, you’ll find that many of their responses hold true for Frosh Week festivities at universities all across Canada. I’ll be popping in my own responses at well—just to provide the perspective of someone not actually employed by the university.
Katie Blodgett is the Human Resources Assistant for Ryerson’s Orientation Team and a Radio and Television Arts student.
Jason Grossman is the Events Assistant for Ryerson’s Orientation Team and a Politics & Governance student.
(Robyn Urback is a lowly Frosh leader)
Q: Anyone who’s seen a bad 80s college flick assumes that the nighttime dorm scene is where the real Orientation action happens. Why should first years bother coming to the organized daytime events?
Katie: The daytime events are great because we hold events that will help first-years get to know Ryerson better. Also, night-time parties are all going to be the same with the same types of people. The daytime events provide the opportunity to meet all sorts of different people.
Jason: Yeah, those movies are pretty cheese and lame.
Robyn: This way, you’ll have stories you can actually tell your parents about.
Q: Will there be beer?
Katie: Nope, all of our events are dry events. The pub night is the one exception, but there is a wristband policy in effect.
Jason: Nope. Having beer involved in activities just creates more risks. Plus, almost all first-years are underage, and we don’t roll like that at Ryerson.
Robyn: Before you ask: no, I’m not going to buy you beer. C’mon, we were all 18 once. You’ve got to be a little more creative than that.
Q: Be honest, is Orientation Week just for keeners?
Katie: Kind of the opposite, I’ve found that the majority of students who come out to O-Week are shy and looking to meet new friends.
Jason: Absolutely not. Orientation is a great opportunity for first-years to get to know campus so they can they hit the ground running when school starts.
Robyn: I think “keeners” would be appalled by some of the things we get up to.
Q: OK then, are the Orientation leaders big keeners?
Katie: Again, not really. It’s mostly just regular students looking to meet new people!
Jason: If by “keeners” you mean “student leaders who love to have fun, help people and volunteer their time,” then yes, I guess they are keeners. But, they are keeners in every positive sense of the word.
Robyn: I am not a keener.
Q: The biggest myth about O-Week is…
Have any favourite frosh videos? Let us know here.
Have any favourite frosh videos? Let us know here.
Six tips to start your year off right
My mum asked me today if I was ready to go back to school, as I will be hopping on a plane in two weeks to the day. I shrugged.
“Yeah, of course I’m ready.”
She looked unconvinced. I am rarely, if ever, prepared for anything.
“But you’ve got two weeks, and you’ll be in Vancouver this week… don’t you have a lot you need to do?”
“No. Mum, it’s a bit like having your third baby,” I said, about to inform her on the complexities of something she, after all, has experienced, and I have not. I haven’t even had one baby, let alone three.
“By this point, I pretty well know how it goes. All I have to do is pick up a bag of diapers and drag the crib out of the garage.”
I had stolen this anecdote from a couple I used to babysit for, so it has some credibility, but my Mum still rolled her eyes.
Regardless, the moment reminded me that it hasn’t always been this simple. Now, I know exactly what I’ll do the moment I get to Ottawa, but two years ago, the city was a blank slate – on which I was actively projecting my most fantastic, but also most terrifying, notions of university life.
So I have utmost sympathy and compassion if you are a first-year university student, especially if you’re throwing up right now. I threw up too. It’s okay!
If you’re like me, the most terrifying part is probably not knowing what to expect once you get to school. I’m not the best person to inform you – I had approximately two friends for most of the year, and probably went to the grand total of one party (not a success story, per se).
But, especially if you’re going into residence, I hope I can provide a few pointers, or at least points of comfort, to start you off:
1. Think of it like high-contact summer camp.
The first few days of school can be a bit mad-cap, so it’s important to get off to a good start. If you’re like me, and find socializing with people your own age nerve-wracking, this is an important time to scrounge up all your courage and be at your most social. Friend groups (initial ones, anyways) are often made within the first day or two, so that’s game time. And, uh, it’s supposed to be fun.
2. Put yourself out there. Shamelessly, if required.
First of all, introduce yourself. No, really, it’s not that dorky. Almost everyone will be feeling awkward, and sometimes you have to make the first move. After all, introductions are a tried and tested way to meet people. Don’t be afraid to go to events alone, and don’t turn down invitations because you want to write your best friend or call your mum. You have the rest of the year to be homesick.
3. Don’t limit yourself to a friend group immediately.
You want to meet people quickly, but you don’t have to commit to them. It’s easy, and in fact quite natural, to find that mid-October, you’re eating lunch with people you met during frosh week, simply because they were the first people you met, not because you actually like them. And it’s also common to be eating lunch with a different group of people by mid-October, with those frosh-friends only a distant memory.
4. Don’t hook up with anyone on your floor in the first week.
Uh, yeah. It may be tempting, but it will probably haunt you for the rest of the year.
5. Find yourself a mentor.
This is an important one. You will find plenty of people to party with, but it can be a real life saver to have an upper year to show you around and give you advice. They are often especially helpful if they’re in your program or from your home town.
Mentors are not hard to find. But they will usually require you to leave your residence room, and the other first years. Program societies often have mentorship programs. At Carleton journalism, you can sign up for one – mine took me for coffee and edited my articles when I was having panic attacks.
Even if there isn’t a program, you can get a mentor just by hanging around and looking really lost. Some of these will become your closest friends (hey there, Laura Baziuk!)
Stock up on extracurriculars (I’ll elaborate on these another time.) I may be biased – but if you like writing, join your student paper. I was an editor last year, as was Jenn Pagliaro, and we were always keen to have new students to take under our wings. In fact, it was part of what we were paid to do. So don’t be shy!
6. Get started now
Like my Mum would say, sometimes a little preparation goes a long way. You may wonder how you can get started on any of this when you’re just sitting at home agonizing. But you can get yourself in the social mindset – start talking to people at the bus stop or in the grocery store to warm up. And if you know of someone who goes to your school already, meet up with them for a coffee, and ask if they can show you around once the year starts.
Of course, if you’re heading to Carleton this fall, I would be more than happy to show you around. And stay tuned, for in the coming days I plan to extoll not just my mother’s advice on leaving for university, but my father’s as well (spoiler: it involves salmon!)