Alumni urged to rescue O-week
By Mark Brown
Western Alumni are not happy that Orientation Week may have to change its name to closer reflect an earlier decision by Western's administration to shorten its length.
On June 25, Western's VP-academic Greg Moran told the university Senate he had moved the move-in day for first-year students from a Monday to a Wednesday the day before the first day of classes. Moran was able to make this change because it did not affect the academic calendar.
"Is that in the spirit of providing the highest level of highest quality first-year experience as possible? You need to involve the students," said John Kelleher, a graduate from 1997 who was heavily involved, including holding the VP-student affairs position with the University Students' Council.
"It defined my experience at Western," said Jeremy Adams, 1994 graduate. He co-wrote a letter with Kelleher, to express their concerns about the shortening of orientation to Western's senior administration
The letter Adams sent was written only after consulting several Western alumni. Adams said he has talked to approximately 100 alumni over the last three months and they are all concerned about the change.
"In my judgement the proposed changed will have a negative effect on the quality of the first year experience," Kelleher said.
"We are not getting rid of Orientation Week it is just changing," explained Roma Harris, Western's registrar. Events are now being held throughout the year to meet the changing needs of the students, she explained.
The university holds campus tours over the summer and once school begins there are faculty-based floors and section-based study groups, she said. "A lot of the kinds of things that allow students to be connected we have built in."
Harris added one of the reasons for the change will be to ensure students get off to a good start so they are able to keep a good focus on why they are here in the first place.
"We're very opposed to the changes," said USC President Ian Armour. When students arrive here they are starting a new life, facing new challenges and adjusting to new people living on their floor, he added.
"We just wish it wasn't a struggle to maintain something so positive," Armour said.
Kelleher said an information card about the changes to Orientation Week is being prepared for Homecoming and an email address has been set up to collect responses from other concerned alumni.
Alumni are being asked to send their letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.