Orientation Week: The Return

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Written by Tyler Valiquette

We survived. Orientation week is over and the school year can officially begin. Time to drop the brewskies and pick up a book. Gosh, I’m old.

Being a fourth and a half year student I was honestly feeling a little bitter about Orientation week. First years parading outside my window, screaming and partying until 4am. All I wanted to do was enjoy a bran muffin and catch up Oprah’s next chapter. Drinking, noise, obnoxious school/rez pride…blasphemy! At least that’s what I thought at first.

It all began on move-in day. From the volunteers and students I’ve spoken to, move in day was a breeze. Fast, efficient and well organized…for the most part. There were tearful and thankful goodbyes amongst families, but then the parents left and the party began. Oh, to be in first year again. I am sure, even though it was a ‘dry week’ on campus , RA’s still found a way to keep busy.

The week was packed full of events. Every hour offered something new and exciting for first years. The events were well attended and well organized. But, as with every year, the free food events were the most popular, supplies ran out quickly. I hope students took advantage of all the free food  because you might be surprised for how quickly a meal plan card can run out.

From tie-dying t-shirts to motivational speakers, the week had it all. Except of course…the O-week boogie. This was by far the highlight of mine and many present and former UoG students; watching other first years dancing and looking goofy, all for the coveted title of “pep rally champs”. This made for great entertainment and unforgettable memories. There was no judgment, no worries, just awesome choreography with the required “winding your toy.”  For any first years reading this, you have an extra month to practice so I hope your boogies are So You Think You Think You Can Dance-worthy. No pressure.

Despite the lack of dancing, UoG students achieved something quite memorable during their orientation week, proving how politically and socially active Guelph student are. Students and staff used orientation week as a tool to fight global hunger. Over 2000 Guelph students piled into Gryphon field house and packed over 300000 emergency relief meals in exactly an hour. This number shattered last year’s world record, almost doubling on that past achievement. Great job students and organizers.  Thanks to this amazing achievement, orientation week was not only a great party it was also a huge achievement in the Universities fight for a better planet.

At first, I was really not digging orientation week. And judging by many annoyed Facebook statues from other students I was not the only one. Hundreds of students swarming downtown, house parties on every corner, yelling and cheering everywhere at every hour started getting to me. I could feel myself approaching a Jason Russell like breakdown. But then I became nostalgic of my first year and realized the importance of orientation week, the beautiful awkwardness of getting to know the people you will be living with for the year. Nostalgia got the better of me, I had to go out and have a few root beers. Try to relive my glory days. I don’t think my liver will ever be quite the same.

I know myself and other upper year student’s grumble about orientation week, but deep down, somewhere buried within, we all still have a soft spot for it. We’ve grown old with the university and hopefully recognized something extremely important. UoG is not just a party school; we are truly making a difference in the world. This Oweek proved that. Cheers.

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