Volume 96, Issue 78
Tuesday, February 18, 2003

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Rescuing a sacred Western tradition

On Feb. 13, first-year student Chris Clarke expressed discontent with his Orientation Week experience in a letter entitled "Still haunted by O-week memories." The letter solicited a number of responses from sophs in defense of Western's O-Week.

The following represents just a few of the responses.



To the Editor:

If Chris Clarke didn't enjoy O-Week here at Western, I fear he wouldn't have enjoyed any similar program at any other university. The Orientation Week program we have in place is one of the most extensive in the country. Personally, when I tell stories of my O-Week as a frosh, friends from other universities actually complain that their's wasn't the same. In fact, I had such a great time during O-Week I decided to become a soph to be involved with it the following year and to make someone else's O-Week as eventful and memorable as mine.

Orientation Week, like life, is what you make of it. The summer camp-like atmosphere is part of the fun. It's a great week, if you let yourself enjoy it. The entire idea behind it is to welcome the incoming frosh to the university, to familarize them with the campus, to meet new people and to ease the transition from living at home to living on your own. The cheers, crazy events and long, hot days in the sun are designed to create a team-like atmosphere and to give relative strangers some common ground on which to start a conversation.

Perhaps this was lost on Mr. Clarke. Or perhaps he is much too mature for such child-like games and nonesense. Oh no, it must be that Mr. Clarke, and the stick that obviously hasn't seen the light of day in a while, doesn't need any help with the transition.

Congratulations Mr. Clarke; as a frosh, I didn't know a soul. Fifteen minutes and one jungle walk later, I'd met several new people, with whom I'm still great friends with today. For me, Orientation Week was a life-saver.

Sandy "Amazon" Brunton
Kinesiology II
SMH Soph Team 2002/03



To the Editor:

I find Chris Clarke's letter about O-Week ignorant to say the least. The amount of planning that goes into O-Week is phenomenal and to consider the activities (as the author so eloquently put it) "fucking the dog" is ridiculous.

I think you should meet my friend Gio, he's the new orientation officer. Spend a day with him and realize the amount of hard work that goes into O-Week [Paola] and he's only a single person. Multiply him by 800 to get the full scope. But you can't please everyone (as you should realize). Not everyone feels the need to drink. I like my beer as much as the next guy, but alcohol does not have to be the single motivating factor behind a good time.

And believe it or not, some first-years do not know how to handle alcohol very well and become ill. Guess what? Sophs are there to make sure you have a great time, but also to ensure that you don't harm yourself or wake up on the streets of Leamington, naked with a "Prince Albert." O-Week is also about getting first-years acquainted with the campus. I, myself, did not mind knowing where to go the following week. As for the sophs, I was one and incidentally, I had an amazing time. So I never slept, so people called me "Spoon"... that is not the point. Sophs are not there for themselves, but to make the transition to university life easier for the first-year students.

Would you rather go back in time to where the upper-years would beat you on the ass with wooden boards la Animal House? I'm not sure if you know this one Chris, but Western has the most successful Orientation program in Canada. Maybe you should sample another frosh week before making assumptions.

Nick Staudt
Classical Studies III



To the Editor:

The objectives of O-Week are to create a fun, safe and positive space to meet people and become comfortable with your new environment. No, not everybody loves to cheer, which is why the week consists of a diverse range of activities.

Comedians, pubs, concerts, barbecues, carnivals, faculty events, artistic and many other social events are there to ensure everyone can plan their own week to get the most from it they can. Cheering promotes school pride and spirit. Whether you like it or not, the awesome efforts of Western's frosh fundraising for Shinerama and Terry Fox raise an incredible amount of money for charity every year.

Sophs don't push drinking because, surprise, not everyone drinks. If you want to spend your entire week in a drunken blur, nobody is going to stop you. Perhaps the reason sophs "won't admit they're not having fun" is because they are.

The sophs are dedicated volunteers who appreciate the tremendous amount of work that went into their own O-Weeks. They want to make the first-year transition as smooth as possible and give back to O-Week what it gave to them. Your first week at Western is so important, but the responsibility to participate and meet people is up to you. We can't force fun down your throat, we can only bring you to the table. O-Week is what you make of it and of course it isn't easy. You have to wake up and get going – save the sleeping in until noon for the rest of the year. If you hadn't ignored all those wake-up calls and had gotten involved in the things that interested you, you may have noticed that there was a hell of a lot more going on than "fucking the dog."

Ainsley Bladon
Social Science II





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