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Gearing up for a fun and safe Frosh 2015

Training for student leaders and volunteers is underway at Concordia
August 6, 2015
By Sara DuBreuil

The Concordia Student Union (CSU) and the university’s various student associations, with support from Concordia’s Dean of Students Office, are busy preparing for the upcoming 2015 frosh and student-led orientation activities.

Building on feedback from last year, the groups are working together to make Frosh 2015 fun and safe, with a focus on community building and harm reduction. “This is largely a student-led effort,” says Laura Glover, student engagement coordinator with the Dean of Students Office. 

“All of the work and the design of the training has been collaborative between the Dean of Students Office and student leaders from the umbrella associations.”

Harm-reduction training

For the second year, the Dean of Students Office is delivering a mandatory harm-reduction training program for all frosh and orientation student leaders, staff and volunteers.

In addition to the various student associations, many groups on campus such as the Student Success Centre, the Centre for Gender Advocacy, the Sexual Assault Resource Centre, Concordia Health Services and Security are involved in the training.

“Harm-reduction training looks at ways frosh leaders, volunteers and staff can reduce harm through the way they lead and role-model,” says Glover.

It’s designed to remind students that they are the leaders and can influence outcomes and events, and covers topics like first aid, consent and bystander intervention, explains Glover.

“We talk about what it means to have that gut feeling of ‘that isn't right, I should do something,’ and the importance of trusting yourself to take appropriate action. Because, as leaders, if you don’t intervene, who will?”

Alcohol management

A three-hour Server Intervention Program (SIP) workshop, designed to encourage the responsible management of alcohol service on campus, will be offered this year.

The updated SIP certification is mandatory for anyone who wants to serve at a Concordia function. But it also covers a range of subjects that are relevant for student leaders — from tips on how to refuse service, to information about how the body handles alcohol and the signs of alcohol poisoning.

Orientation coordinator workshop

At the end of June, orientation leaders got together for a day-long, peer-to-peer learning event that focused on the purpose of orientation itself, and on how everything from the planning of the event to the hiring of volunteers influences the success of orientation. Another of the workshop’s aims was to prepare leaders for the harm reduction training that is taking place during the month of August.

The workshop was an idea that came out of reflection and feedback from student leaders involved in organizing 2014 activities. “Whatever your purpose is, you need to align that with all your activities so that you get the outcome that you want,” says Terry Kyle, manager of student life with the Dean of Students Office.

CSU orientation 2015

The CSU has organized a variety of events at both the Sir George Williams and Loyola campuses, including open-air pubs, a picnic, a sports day and two off-campus concerts.

The theme of orientation, taking place from September 8 to 19, is Take Action.

"Many of our events are alcohol free and focus on Taking Action within the Concordia Community," says John Talbot, the CSU’s vice-president of student life. "We are working to establish our orientation events as safe, accessible spaces for new and returning students."

Concordia’s Student Services also host a range of orientation sessions to help you start your year right, courtesy of your Student Success Centre. Registration is required.

Learn more about Orientation 2015, including the Discover Concordia fair and checkout these CSU events.

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