UTM departs on an Odyssey


Amid the cheering, screaming, and chanting that traditionally characterizes Orientation Week, first-year students got a blast of UTM spirit as Orientation Week kicked off last Monday. Hundreds of first-year students congregated on campus to enjoy the various Orientation festivities hosted by the UTM Students’ Union. Froshies had the chance to get acquainted with the campus and make new friends as they celebrated the start of their undergraduate careers.

“Odyssey 2013” hit campus on Labour Day with early sign-ins, where first-year students were able to pick up blue frosh totes filled with goodies and find out their group and bus numbers.

The events began on Tuesday with UTM’s Welcome Day at the RAWC hosted by the UTM Department of Student Life. Wearing “I LOVE UTMSU” t-shirts, students were introduced to resources that would help them transition into university life, received a greeting and congratulations from Principal Deep Saini, and were sent to various areas on campus to get acquainted with their academic departments’ faculty and staff.

Lunch was included in their orientation fees, and was followed by the “Carnival” and a paint party. Students brought extra pants or shorts to change into afterwards.

In the evening everyone congregated in the RAWC to learn UTM cheers and movements, encouraged by the enthusiasm the frosh leaders put into the cheers, hip thrusts, and middle-finger-pointing.

Past froshies may remember the cheer “Everywhere we go / people wanna know / who we are / so we tell them / we are from ’Sauga / mighty Mississauga / UTM / Erindale campus!”.

The UTM’s Got Talent show in the RAWC included dance and song performances, as well as the return of the annual hypnotist show.

Wednesday, or “Blue Shirt Day”, included workshops and a battle between teams in the UTM Athletic Council’s Olympics. Froshies were separated into groups that rotated around campus and maneuvered around the construction in front of the Kaneff Centre to designated spots, where they played dodgeball, V8 Flip Cup, flag football, and stumbled through an obstacle course.

While waiting for Toga Pub in the Blind Duck that evening, froshies milled around outside the Student Centre in togas made of bed sheets. The pub opened at 10 p.m., and music blasted from the speakers while the attendees danced—carefully, so as not to accidentally lose their togas.

The following morning, froshies headed to the RAWC for ”Stuff a Bus”, where they donated non-perishable items, such as canned goods and drinks, they had brought in throughout the week.

Froshies later attended a show at Medieval Times and took photos with the knights after the show and danced in the foyer before heading back.

“What do we think of the red knight?” a frosh leader prompted his group after the red knight consented to taking a photo with the leader and his group.

“We love the red knight! Mwah!” they responded.

On Friday, students travelled by bus to St. George to battle the other colleges in the customary cheer-off. After lunch, they walked to King’s College Circle where they met with the St. George colleges and engaged in a fierce, energy-infused cheer-off that saw many people lose their voices before the U of T Parade that was to follow.

The UTM frosh led the crowd marching through downtown Toronto, accompanied by police officers on motorcycles. Music blasted from the back of Blind Duck manager Shane Madhani’s car.

The parade returned to Hart House to be greeted by a carnival at which they went from tent to tent picking up goodies. The traditional tri-campus after-party at the Guvernment nightclub in Toronto took place that night. The formal that took place on Saturday night at the Capitol Banquet Hall in Mississauga completed “Odyssey 2013”.

Orientation went on despite the resignation of the two orientation coordinators hired by UTMSU, who were in charge of planning the week. Lara Stasiw and Neelam Din allege that UTMSU executives mistreated them and handed in their resignation to the union three weeks prior to Orientation Week.

After their resignations, frosh leader Aliza Farooqi said that “every meeting we went to after Lara and Neelam left was very unorganized. They [UTMSU] didn’t even properly train us for the cheers because there are leaders who still don’t know the cheers. […] All they do is educate us about UTMSU.”

UTM Frosh faced off against the U of T colleges at St. George on Friday.
UTM Frosh faced off against the U of T colleges at St. George on Friday.

Disclaimer: This article has been edited following its initial printing; an expanded section had been included in error.

  • teavana

    Why was the last line even necessary? As a fellow leader, who had to also deal with all the crap that happened, we were taught those cheers starting from the first training on ward (which Neelam and Lara organized). That is seriously the stupidest thing to complain about in this article when there were so many other ones to choose from. Maybe someone should have been paying more attention… Way to end a positive article with such a sour grape.

    • Luke

      Thanks for writing—that’s probably the most restrained comment of its type I’ve read yet. I think we would profit from a letter to the editor on the subject, usually the best way to explain contentions with an article.

      It was included because it seemed disingenuous to relay everything that worked at Frosh without at least a footnote on the background and the feelings a number of people were trying to express (and if you know the inverted pyramid structure of news writing, you know that it’s in footnote position). Writing about these events happening in the first place is an inherent testimony to the work put into them, but if that was all we mentioned, readers of this article alone would have felt it was propaganda for a Frosh that they felt was imperfect (and they have done so anyway in other forums). In the end we have to avoid catering to receive a positive reaction from all sides.