First-year students have started off their careers at UTM full of memories made at the always highly anticipated Orientation Week, hosted by UTMSU.
After picking up their frosh totes full of goodies last week and receiving their group and bus numbers, hundreds of first-year students congregated to celebrate new beginnings and make friends as they cheered the traditional UTM frosh cheers. For the theme this year, the campus was hit with the apocalypse and froshies endured the elements: earth, air, fire, and water.
“The idea behind our theme is that many students may think university is the end of the world and will be really difficult, but together we can provide them with the tools to succeed or survive,” explained Lara Stasiw, one of two orientation coordinators this year. “These tools include orienting them to the campus, providing them with mentors—our leaders—to answer any questions they have, introducing them to other first-year students to help create friendships, and giving them a sense of UTM pride.”
Chris Thompson, the president of UTMSU, enjoyed the week’s activities.
“The most rewarding aspect of Orientation Week, to me, is to see the smiles on the first-years’ faces and as they meet new people and create new connections,” said Thompson. “First-years commonly arrive not knowing [many] people. They are nervous, and entering a new setting, but after being introduced to pumped-up, higher-energy leaders and meeting the rest of their group members and going through a couple of events, first-years start to make new friends [and] feel more comfortable, and high levels of energy and smiles tend to emerge.”
Students crowded the CCT Building and the CCT link for the Student Services Fair on Tuesday, which showcased the academic departments and a few clubs (including the Muslim Students’ Association and the UTM Tennis Club). Afterwards, the Recreation, Athletics and Wellness Centre was transformed into an indoor carnival, and for the rest of the day the frosh enjoyed the UTM’s Got Talent show.
Student teams battled other groups in the UTM Athletic Council’s “Hunger Games”. The groups rotated around campus to designated spots where they played dodgeball, V8 Flip Cup, and flag football, and stumbled through an obstacle course. Relief showed on the faces of students as they approached the rest station.
Students crowded the Blind Duck for the Apocalyptica Pub, sponsored by CFRE Radio. The Student Centre was aglow with red and neon lights and bursting with music from the speakers set outside on the balcony. Inside the pub, fake icicles hung from the ceiling as flashing lights shot through the smoke generated by a fog machine.
The smoke turned out to be too much for the apocalypse survivors and the party was forced to move outside as fire alarms sounded above the music and students were ushered out of the building.
“THIS IS MADNESS!” cried a group of students in unison—a familiar UTMSU cheer that past froshies will remember.
The fire truck arrived a few minutes later, drenching the crowd in red light. A dancer twirled her hula hoop, aglow with blue and green lights, among the flashing red lights of the truck. Thompson later confirmed that the fog machines set off the fire alarms.
Students headed to the RAWC on Thursday morning for the “Stuff a Bus” event. Students had been bringing non-perishable items, such as canned goods and drinks, all week for this event, in which they stuffed a MiWay bus full of these items in support of United Way.
“The whole 2012 ‘end of the world’ theme, the apocalypse—I think it’s just another way of getting people together and realizing we’re not that different from each other,” said Kwabena Opoku-Adusei, an orientation leader. “No matter what kind of background you come from, whether it’s a rich family or poor family, first world, third world—we’re all here for the same goal. It’s to get an education, a job, to help better the world in various different ways—in whichever way you feel like doing.”
In the afternoon, they travelled downtown by bus to collect donations for United Way. Froshies enjoyed a show at Medieval Times and snapped photos with the knights for their Facebook profiles. The group headed back to Mississauga on a party bus with music and dancing.
On Friday, the froshies and their leaders had an extremely busy day filled with marching, singing, dancing, and cheering. They arrived at King’s College Circle at the St. George campus after a pizza lunch in front of University College, where they faced off St. George’s architecture frosh, the University College frosh, and the froshies of Innis and other colleges.
The energy was high as the UTM crowd chanted, “UTM! UTM! UTM!” The architecture frosh shouted back, “Quantity!” and pointed at the UTM frosh, then pointed at themselves and shouted, “Quality! You don’t even go here!”
The UTM frosh replied, “We don’t even want to!”
UTM led the crowd as each college and faculty walked the streets of downtown Toronto following the cheer-off. Songs like Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”, the Lonely Island’s “I Just Had Sex”, and the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” blared from the two huge speakers at the back of Shane Madhani’s car, which led the way for the UTM frosh, alongside a police officer on a motorcycle.
When the frosh finally made it back to Hart House, a carnival was awaiting them. A concert began as students went from tent to tent, picking up goodies from each booth. An after-party at the Guvernment night club in Toronto for all three campuses, a traditional U of T Orientation event, ended the apocalypse.