This year marked the first time orientation week was shortened in order to accomodate fall reading break days in October.
Classes began Thursday, Sept. 8, meaning full-day orientation week activities ended Wednesday, Sept. 7. The changed format has been met with mixed reviews.
“As with all changes, there were some negatives and positives! While it seemed sometimes harder for leaders to pull first-years out of their shells right away, I think it was great that first-years were able to experience classes, professors and lecture halls before the week was over because they were still able to access their leaders as resources and talk to them if they had any questions,” said Amy Zhou, leader and faculty orientation co-ordinator (FOC) for arts.
Nolan Finkelstein, FOC for Arts faculty, said the new format worked because organizers were prepared for the change.
“Having classes on Thursday and Friday was something we had to work around, but the time we spent on developing a schedule that took those days into account worked very well, in my opinion. It was a bit different from other years (for example, there was no toga this year), but I don’t think that detracted much from the week itself,” Finkelstein said. “Overall, I thought the week was a big success despite the changes, and that it will continue to improve once we have a bit more time and experience with the new schedule.”
Orientation leader Monica Chung was in favour of the change.
“This year, it was short but very sweet. It allowed students to enjoy the events without over-exhausting themselves too much,” Chung said.
Some freshmen weren’t bothered by the change, such as Aaron Silver, a 1A systems design engineering, who said, “It seemed to be alright, it didn’t drag on…. I thought it was well-organized. It didn’t feel too short at all. It was pretty fine.”
Erika Miessner, a 1A environment resources and sustainability student, said, “I was actually eager for classes to start because I graduated in May, so this is the longest summer vacation that I’ve ever had. Orientation is great, but let’s get started with academics.”
Upper-year student and orientation leader Shreya Subramaniam was not so sure about the shortened week.
“It felt like many of the events were rushed and the first-years weren’t able to fully enjoy them. It also felt like because of the shortened week, students weren’t able to get as in-depth of an introduction to life at UW as past first-years have … While the excitement levels were high, some engineering traditions, such as EdCom, did not get the time or appreciation they would and should have received had the week actually been a full week.”
Feds will be taking a close look at how the week went and making changes accordingly.
“In general, the week went very well. Both our new and traditional events had a good turnout,” said Feds president Chris Lolas. “For next year, we’ll continue to review how we can improve. However, we’ll need to wait for the post-orientation survey results, and have some conversations with various involved parties, before we can definitively determine the effectiveness of the new schedule.”