Student Affairs makes significant changes to the orientation week
Capilano University’s Student Affairs department has an ambitious start planned for the 2019 Fall semester. Building off feedback from last years event, the New Student Orientation has changed in multiple ways, perhaps most notably in its length—taking a huge jump from being a two day event to a two week long event.
“New student orientation is the official welcome to new students to the university,” added Mara Schaffler Student Success Facilitator for Orientation and Transition. “Capilano is a very unique university and I think these events are a great opportunity for everyone, no matter where [they] come from, to connect with their campus.” Schaffler, who aims to address the many diverse needs of students who come to CapU, added: “We can’t teach everything in one day, which is why we have multiple events.”
“We’ve learned a lot [from] seeing what students were actually interested in [last year] or things they needed to know,” said Ursula Biehl, student orientation organizer.
“It’s [also] great because once you go to class, there are all these friends [that] you already made during orientation. I think starting classes off that way, with a familiar face here and there, makes that transition easier and more fun,” Biehl added.
And so, in addition to the standard orientation events starting on August 26th, this multi-stage event will provide additional seminars and workshops to take place between August 27th to September 6th. Collaboration between departments has also been a new addition, and will add a new layer to the upcoming events this Fall.
Schaffler gave an example. “For those students who would like an extra push on the academic side, we have Smart Start, which is for new and returning students,” she said. “These workshops aim to help with time management, research, and also prepare [students] for the classroom.”
Meanwhile, from August 30th onward, an International Student Orientation will unfold as well. This will involve events such as the Residence Welcome Barbeque, Well-Being Wednesday, the Student Union Community Expo and the Involvement Fair.
Finally, a New to Vancouver event will be hosted on campus open to international and domestic students, and students will be able to choose breakout sessions to join after orientation has finished, which are workshops, discussions, and presentations on various topics. These and other activities are listed with their respective dates on the orientation app, which can be downloaded by following the instructions on the CapU website.
While new CapU students may be somewhat overwhelmed by all the activities being offered, Schaffler reminds students to remember that everyone is on that boat. “A lot of people think they are the only ones who are nervous or anxious, but there are so many students that are scared of making friends or attending crowded events,” she said. “Just knowing that everyone is nervous is a big help because it lets you know that you’re not alone.”
Starting out at University can be a daunting task, but it can also be extremely rewarding when students choose to get involved. Often, it is important to remember to step out of the comfort zone and dive into a new experience. “We believe creating that community and connection with peers and staff makes university a good experience,” said Schaffler. “When we talk about engagement there usually is a mentality that being involved means joining a club, but there are many [other] ways in which people can get involved. It goes beyond the clubs and organizations. We want to make sure students know that they can choose their own adventure and [that] we’re not trying to fit people in boxes. Everything is valid as long as it makes you grow as a person.”
The New Student Orientation events are mandatory for all new students, both domestic or international, but returning students are more than welcome (and encouraged) to attend the events as well.