Capilano Student Unions’ Welcome Back Week

From September 8 to 11, the Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) welcomed back both new and returning students to campus with its annual Welcome Back Week, the Harvest Moon Festival being the highlight event.
These events are a time-tested ritual for universities and colleges, offering events for students to connect with university clubs, explore the campus, and meet other students.
The university welcomed over 2,000 new students at orientation, as well as more than 80 student leaders and 100 employees volunteering at the event. Carefully managed by scurrying green and blue shirted workers, the festivities went over in grand style.
The Mardi Gras Festivities of September 9 were remarkably well attended and were the most ambitious project in recent memory. Complete with ball-toss games, fashion shows, caricature portraits and music, this event was a stunning display of organization and positive energy, drawing all facets of the university together under the raucous chanting of the CSU: “CSU we’re here for you! CSU we’re here for you!”
And the new students, always shy and reserved, found it easy to break the ice and feel welcome.
Haiquan Hou described his first day as wonderful, enthusiastically commending the organizers for making him feel at home. Laughing, he said “I’ve made some friends and had lots of fun... good job!”
Catherine Wallis found everyone really nice and was excited about the draw for a free iPod. She was enjoying the good weather but avoiding the games, though she said she was definitely having a great time.
Shannon Colin, Capilano’s marketing communications advisor, believes that attending orientation events is especially important for new students.
“Studies show that students who attend orientation are more successful and engaged in campus life,” said Colin. “Our goal is to welcome new students to the Capilano University community, introduce them to the campus and its services, and create opportunities for them to make connections with students and employees.”
Services Coordinator Sarah Silvester said the CSU wanted the Harvest Moon Festival to be bigger than last year, to reach out to more students and make it one of the year’s biggest on-campus events.
“Things are going to go really smoothly, depending on how receptive student are. We think some events are going to go better than we initially anticipated,” said Silvester. “One of our major accomplishments is trying to bring all [the faculties] and build community on campus, and to build school spirit.”
And the spirit was there. It positively reeked of enthusiasm.
While the September 9 Pancake breakfast was a bit of a bust due to the rain, the cheerful demeanor of CSU Chair Trevor Page and Staff member Giselle Aiabens helped to keep people laughing. The Walkabout that happened over the lunch hour was also poorly attended due to the first day of classes, but some students did manage to follow the footsteps to the Treehouse, bumping with groovy house music, or to the Womyn’s Center or First Nations Lounge.

But by the main event, the Harvest Moon Festival, students were scarce. Despite the fantastic weather and the sweet sounds of Rose Alarm (think Joan Jett meets Hole), The New Black (think Pearl Jam meets Bryan Adams) and Drohan (think Tragically Hip meets Queens of the Stone Age meets Braveheart), the call of classes drove students indoors. One Film Studies teacher even emerged from the rickety film shack to scream obscenities at the CSU for disrupting his lecture but was pacified by the sassy MC, Noah Fine. Still, children laughed, vendors sold, students mixed - faces were painted and people trickled past in a slow but steady stream. By all accounts, it was a success, especially if it was measured in hot dogs, which amounted to about two hundred―that's one hundred sixty more than last year.
“We nailed all the events,” explained Nicolle Smith, Chair of the Welcome Back committee. “And we were easily under budget … this [week] can't be compared to previous orientation weeks.” She explained that the focus of the Welcome Week has changed now that Cap is a university: “We're focusing on life on campus … and these activities cry out for heart.”
Without a doubt, it was the most warmth and welcome this reporter has ever seen at Cap. Bravo, CSU. Take a bow. You earned it.

Kevin Murray Co-Editor

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