6 ways to safely enjoy your orientation
But before the festivities get under way, student leaders, staff and volunteers are required to take training sessions on community building, consent, bystander intervention and risk reduction. They’re part of an initiative to help make the festivities safer and more successful.
Over the last few years, the Dean of Students Office has worked closely with student leaders to ensure the activities are respectful and fun for all.
“The support that we get from the Dean of Students Office is phenomenal,” says Mackenzie Murray, executive vice-president of the Commerce and Administration Students’ Association (CASA).
“It's great to see the student groups on campus making strides towards a safer, more inclusive frosh culture.”
Here are six tips to help you navigate orientation events and enjoy the back-to-school season.
1. Make new friends
Developing new friendships during frosh and orientation events is one of the most important things you can do to enhance your education. Why socialize? Studies show that making friends in the first eight weeks at university increases your chances of success.
2. Get to know your leaders
Frosh leaders are there to support you in case you have any questions or concerns. They have all been trained to welcome you and make sure you have the best possible orientation and frosh experience.
“It is integral to us and the planning of our frosh that we provide safe spaces for our students to take some time to themselves and receive support when they are feeling uncomfortable,” says Marguerite Rolland, advocacy and executive coordinator of the Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA).
3. Stay hydrated
August and September weather can still get pretty hot and humid in Montreal, so remember to carry water with you wherever you go. A mixture of heat and alcohol can increase your risk of heatstroke significantly. Set reminders on your phone or watch to drink two cups of water every hour even if you don’t feel thirsty.
Don’t forget to bring your water bottle with you! The outdoor events on campus have water stations.
4. Drink responsibly
Alcohol is often accessible to students who participate in frosh activities. If you do decide to drink, moderation is key to having a safe and memorable time. Many events on campus include designated “chill out” zones for those who’ve had too much to drink or just need a break from the party.
5. Get training on consent
All student associations are giving consent training this year, so every new student attending frosh events will have a version of the training that leaders, staff and volunteers get. These sessions include information on consent and sexual assault.
“Consent is really important because new students are vulnerable when they first arrive,” says Alex Stojda, vice-president of Internal Affairs at the Engineering and Computer Science Association (ECA). “They don’t know anyone, so we don’t want them feeling pressured into doing something they may not normally do.”
6. Eat beforehand
Even though orientation and frosh activities have food at their events, make sure you don’t drink on an empty stomach.