Frosh Week marks an eventful beginning – the welcoming of incoming first-year students as they commence their university life. Many students had hoped for an exhilarating week filled with fun, partying, and dancing.
With COVID-19 still at large, and with the province’s strict measures on social gatherings, UW’s Fall 2020 Orientation or Frosh Week is being held remotely. For the incoming class of 2020, that marks another major event turned virtual.
Traditionally, Frosh Weeks has always provided an opportunity for incoming students to meet new people and bond with those who will be embarking on the same academic journey.
Jessica Yang, a first-year Biomedical Engineering student at UW, expressed her concern over making friends this year. She feels that in absence of in-person interactions, it will be rather challenging.
“I am a pretty sociable person and I get a lot of my daily energy from talking with my friends and interacting with them,” Yang said. “Meeting in real life would be a lot more fun, so we’ve found that quite difficult for us.”
Frosh Week activities typically include multiple icebreakers – group activities designed in a way so you get connected with people from a variety of diverse backgrounds – along with theatrical shows and concerts. “I am quite disappointed that I won’t get the same experience and I don’t get that sort of interaction,” Yang said.
Student organizations all across Canada have been embracing the new normal of an online Frosh Week and have been working towards enhancing the Frosh 2020 virtual experience.
At UW, while there won’t be any carnival with a Ferris wheel and cotton candy this year, Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association’s (WUSA) Welcome Week includes a week of virtual events which kicked off this week. The events are a mix of informative, educational, and fun, being held via multiple online platforms such as Zoom, Instagram Live, and YouTube Live. Some of these events and activities include Anti-Racism 101 with RAISE, Keep Your Stress in Check, Virtual Scavenger Hunt, Virtual Jeopardy and even a TikTok Dance Tutorial. WUSA’s Welcome Week classic Sex Toy Bingo will also be returning virtually this Fall featuring Kyne from Canada’s Drag Race.
Additionally, faculty-specific virtual events for Frosh Week are also held. Math faculty students were still able to receive their traditional pink ties through a virtual Earn Your Pink Tie event.
Engineering students received their hardhats through the Earn Your Hardhats event – a tradition all incoming first-years engineering students have been a part of before. This year engineering students were challenged to exhibit their creativity through a roller-coaster and redstone building challenge on Minecraft, the interactive sandbox game.
While there may be no echoes from chants of the “Water, Water, Water, loo loo loo,” stomps from a dance floor, or swarms of enthusiastic teens in bright colours, Fall 2020’s virtual Frosh Week will be remembered as the first-ever of its kind.