Last week hundreds of first-year students visited UTM. The occasion was the annual Orientation Week hosted by the student union, UTMSU. Fun and games filled the week before the stress and anxiety of the school year begin.
This year’s Frosh Week theme was “Can’t Stop. Won’t Stop.” and the festivities truly did not stop until Saturday night with the annual frosh parade still to be held this Friday.
On, the first day of orientation, new students were allowed to come in for an academic workshop to learn more about UTM and university life in general. Lunch and cheer training followed. Students learned such cheers as “Whose campus?! Our campus!” or the infamous “I feel so good. Oh, I feel so good. Oh! Oh!” accompanied by several pelvic thrusts. The first day of Orientation Week ended with a Blacklight party at the Blind Duck Pub.
Day Two of Orientation Week brought first-year students and upper-year leaders together for a Carnival Day full of fun and games. Nicknamed “froshies”, the first year students were dressed in matching green shirts. The noise from the nearby construction could barely be heard over the cheers and music and didn’t put a damper on the fun and games.
Throughout the week, the new students were grouped together, each group with a different Frosh Leader who wore a different coloured shirt.
This allowed incoming students to meet new people. “This year, Frosh Week was sold out. Our leaders have been great. We had a lot of applicants this year. I see a lot of students wanting to get involved,” said Vickita Bhatt, president of UTMSU.
When asked about personal expectations before becoming a Frosh leader, Hilary Receno, a Frosh leader this year, said, “I expected it to be fun and tiring at the same time, but the energy from this year’s frosh was contagious and kept me going.”
Frosh Week festivities continued into the next day with a “UTM’s Got Talent” show and the enthralling stylings of comedic hypnotist Casey St. James. UTM clubs and students were contacted and asked to audition for the talent portion of the evening. The night included breakdancing, singing, a beatboxing trio, and a sing-along to the Backstreet Boys between set changes.
The Recreation, Athletics, and Wellness Centre (RAWC) quickly became quiet when St. James’ performance began. While several students volunteered to be hypnotized, the rest sat on the bleachers watching in anticipation to see what silly things the hypnotist would have them do.
St. James assured students that people under hypnosis would not do anything that is against their moral code and that there would be nothing personally revealing during the show. The volunteers—all Froshies—sat and stood in a row in the staging area of the RAWC. Frosh leaders remained near the staging area at all times to ensure the safety of the students being hypnotized. UTM’s response team also stood by.
The volunteers were hypnotized and asked to do such things as imagining they were at a five-star resort, waving to people on a boat, putting on sun block, shampooing their hair, playing baseball, riding a horse, and playing guitar. Two volunteers were even hypnotized to believe they were strippers and proceeded to dance and removed their shirts. Throughout the hypnosis, James spoke in a soothing monotone voice in order to put the volunteers into a trace. The entirety of the hypnosis lasted nearly two hours and all volunteers came out of the hypnosis safely.
Orientation week aimed to create a sense of community which included meals. For students who are fasting, the student union ensured that they did not feel left out. “We break fast with students who are fasting. All our dinners are after sundown so everyone eats together. We’re trying to make Frosh as inclusive as possible,” said Bhatt.
Frosh Week began at the UTM campus and ended at the St. George campus. On September 4, students made their way to the downtown campus for lunch, community service an “Amazing Race” themed game was also planned, but had to be cancelled due to weather conditions.
Although Frosh Week didn’t end with the annual Tri-Campus parade, it was still the experience of a lifetime for many incoming students. “We want to encourage all first-years to come to the parade. The reason why it was moved to a later date was because UTM’s academic calendar accommodated for two reading weeks,” said Bhatt. “Many professors have agreed to give leniency to first-year students so they can make it out to the parade.”
To conclude the celebration, there will be a U of T parade held on Friday, September 10, 2010, downtown at the St. George Campus. All students are welcome to come to this free event.