Students were welcomed back to campus last week with a range of events hosted separately by UTMSU and the Department of Student Life.

Now in its second year, the Department of Student Life hosted a variety of events and activities on a grander scale than last year’s Welcome Week events, which only featured student services on campus.

“We thought it was a valuable event for not only new students coming to the university but also [for] those that are returning in being oriented or reoriented with the campus,” said Zoya Tahir, a Student Life campus experience leader, and one of the main organizers of the festivities.

“Part of the feedback we received last year was that students wanted a greater reason to interact with the different groups,” Tahir added. “This is due to a few reasons: some students are shy, others are unsure of what is happening, and only a minority know what is available for them. Thus, by making it more interactive this year we wanted to target those first two groups.”

As part of the Student Life festivities, the programming featured tours of the Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre as well as an opportunity to snap a selfie with Jimmi, the Career Centre mascot, participate in a library scavenger hunt, and create custom buttons.

“We have seen quite a bit of turnout at all the activities taking place this week,” says Tahir. “A popular one has been the writing activities hosted by the English & Drama Student Society. Students had the opportunity to drop by their booth this week in the Davis Meeting Place to take part in a creative writing contest, a writing prompts exercise, and a chance to build their own story.”

UTMSU participated as well by hosting their Welcome Week featuring roughly 100 student clubs, the first pub night of the year, and a variety of activities, including an inflatable bouncy castle, games, and prizes. According to Francesco Otello-DeLuca, UTMSU’s VP campus life, this year’s event turnout was much greater than the previous year’s.

“It was a no-brainer to have this event again,” said Otello-DeLuca. “It is an amazing opportunity for students to see what UTMSU, clubs, and societies have to offer. We are pleased to provide an opportunity for every club and society to reach out to students and build on their membership.”

Lisa Caballero, a biology and chemistry student, saw improvement in this year’s festivities. “The energy is really good,” said Caballero. “In previous years I didn’t really care too much for Clubs Week [its former name].”

The week of festivities closely followed Welcome Day, held on September 2 for first-year students. Welcome Day was hosted jointly by the Department of Student Life and UTMSU, welcoming more than 1,400 first-year students to campus.