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An Orientation Week that will look like no other

Skylar McCarthy | Interrobang | News | September 17th, 2020




The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the Fanshawe Student Union (FSU) to turn their events virtual, or even a hybrid of some online or some in-person.

Kevin Masterson, FSU events and activities manager, said that Orientation Week this year will hopefully reduce some of the stress Fanshawe students will have leading up to a new year, especially when everything is different.

“The whole point of a frosh week, or Welcome to Fanshawe sort of event is, you know, you have all these students, they’re brand new, or they’re returning but again this year, but everybody’s kind of brand new because the whole way education is going to be administered is so different,” Masterson said. “You want them to feel at home, you want them to reduce that stress a little bit. You don’t want to feel like they’re locked in rooms and they can’t go anywhere. We want to put a smile on their face and tell them it’s going to be OK.”

The FSU has a variety of activities planned for the start of this year. On Orientation Day (Sept. 18), as a part of the College’s overall orientation package, there will be performances by Aaron Allen and Sarah Smith to kick things off for brand-new students. Then after the first day of classes, events will start up. On Sept. 22, Deal or No Deal will happen virtually.

On Sept. 23, they will have an interactive karaoke night, were you can sing the karaoke from home. Alongside virtual events, the FSU has made some events to have a limited 50 in-person attendance, with some of them being accessible online as well.

On Sept. 24, there will be an acoustic performance at The Out Back Shack, with it being broadcasted online as well for students at home.

Finally, on Sept. 25, The Out Back Shack will host the first bingo event of the year. Students living in residence will have the opportunity to reserve a spot for “hybrid” events and become the limited 50-person audience. The FSU hopes these hybrid events will allow students who are home to participate just as easily as the students who are there live.

For international students who are stuck at home, the FSU is making an online scavenger hunt around Canada get to know Canada and the Fanshawe area, since they can’t actually physically be here.

The FSU has held some events from the summer semester, which Masterson said were a “trial and error” of what events can be good virtually, and which ones weren’t the best.

“So, when we did our summer trivia night, it went great. We had lots of student participation. It was excellent,” he said. “Then on the other side of the scale, we tried a couple of Netflix viewing parties, and we had one with one student show up, so it wasn’t quite as popular.”

How will the FSU continue to try to make this unprecedented school year enjoyable? Masterson said that they will listen to students’ feedback and drive as many students to their website, and make them feel they’re a part of the Fanshawe community.

“You want to listen to the students, right? We’re always going to be asking students what they’re looking for what they want to do, what works, what doesn’t work,” Masterson said. “We’re going to try to relieve as much as possible, make it enjoyable and make the students feel like they are part of the Fanshawe community because they are. Sure, it’s a different community this year, but it’s still Fanshawe, and we still want you to feel you’re home.”
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