Volume 92, Issue 7

Tuesday, September 15, 1998

here we go


The burden now rests on Western's student body

By Neil Malhotra
Opinions Editor

It is time for the students of this university to take a stand. It's time to take a stand on rising tuition and, more along the same lines, it is time to take a stand on the reduction of Orientation Week programming.

Do you remember your first week here? You arrived here on the Monday and moved into your new residence to be greeted by your Sophs. These Sophs were a group of people who would help you lug your heavy luggage up several flights of stairs and spend additional years in residence because they WANTED to help ease your transition into a new life.

These were the first people you met... the first people that wanted to be your friend. They showed you the ins and outs of the university – where to get the best food, how to save on the cost of books, how to avoid long line-ups and where the various facilities on campus were located. They showed you the spirit of the university through loud, boisterous cheering and healthy competition between the residences and faculties. And it also went beyond the constraints of the one week. They were the people there for you when you thought you did not have a helping hand throughout the entire year.

What would walking to your first classes have been like if you had not had at least a few days to get to know a person or two on your floor that shared the same program? Imagine moving in one afternoon and being in class the next day without having the chance to get familiar with your new home. The sad reality is that next year this is what the administration has planned to do. Instead of moving in Labour Day Monday, next year's Frosh are being "welcomed" on the Wednesday – and classes are still starting first-thing Thursday morning.

Does this enrage anybody? It sure disgusts the four thousand frosh and seven hundred sophs who made this year's O-Week programming such a success. And it should fire up every person on this campus because Frosh week has had such a profound effect on so many Western students, past and present. It will take a united student voice to help keep O-Week a full week experience – and not a token gesture.

Apathy and Western tend to have gone hand-in-hand in the past and this attitude needs to be changed. The student body is in a sad state when only a few hundred people can be bothered to protest a 10 per cent tuition hike in consecutive years. This school does not have to protest every injustice in the world, but there are issues that are important to Western students.

Sure, you will never be Frosh again and most of you will probably never get back involved in orientation as Sophs, but do it for the people who are going to join Western over the next few years (it could be your brothers and sisters). Think about all the hard work that students do in the summer to put together programming for each Frosh week. Everyone's help is needed to continue one of the greatest traditions at this school.

Spirit does exist at this school – take a look around you. Most people are wearing a Western bag or a fraternity/sorority hat. Perhaps they are wearing a CHRW pin or a residents' council sweater. People at this university take pride in the various aspects that compose the community, so why can't they step up when the good of the student body is at stake?

Orientation week has often been described as the best week of a post secondary student's life. It needs to be preserved for the sake of future students and for the sake of the university. Why rob people of potential memories?

If the student population can unite on this one front, perhaps the administration will not be so consistent in screwing students over. If you love your university, it is the time to step up. After all, the University of Western Ontario is the tie that binds all of us together.

To Contact The Opinions Department: gazette.opinions@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998