Changes to U of C 101 raise criticism

This year’s frosh will get an entirely new introduction to the University of Calgary when they arrive on campus in September.

Starting last fall, the Office of the Student Experience had been re-designing the university’s fall orientation program–U of C 101–to ensure new students are equipped with the most essential information for surviving on campus.

Using feedback from past U of C 101 student surveys, a committee with representatives from faculty and student groups on campus, came up with a new two-day model for the orientation, explained U of C 101 organizer Michelle Clayton.

“We want students to be familiar with the resources they need to succeed academically, socially and personally,” said Clayton. “[U of C 101] can’t cover everything, but we want it to give them the tools to succeed on their own and start feeling a sense of pride in the U of C.”

In previous years, students chose the sessions they wanted to attend however, Clayton noted the majority of them weren’t choosing the sessions that covered important information such as how to use the library or IT on campus. For the first time, this year’s frosh will all attend a standard set of sessions taught by U of C staff and members of other campus groups.

“We’re really focusing on information most critical to students’ success in first semester,” said Clayton. “[These sessions] will give them a bite-sized introduction to the university.”

While the new model may provide students with important information about surviving their first semester on campus, NUTV executive director Michelle Wong worried it will not provide students with enough exposure to other groups on campus, such as the TriMedia alliance, which used to have its own 101 session.

“This is really disappointing [for NUTV],” said Wong. “Without having access to the students, it makes it that much harder for them to know about us.”

Clayton countered new students will be exposed to extra-curricular activities on campus through the session titled “Make a difference, get involved.” She also noted students will be encouraged to attend clubs week to find out about all the different opportunities to get involved.

Although clubs week has provided NUTV with some exposure, Wong said the 101 session was critical as it provided a tangible source of interaction with new students and a place to share the TriMedia video, which, in the past, allowed students to see exactly what NUTV does.

The new 101 model also means the SU will no longer have an entire session to introduce new students to its services. SU president Julie Bogle doesn’t think the changes will hurt the SU’s level of exposure.

“We don’t have one session this year, but our information is spread out over all the sessions,” she said. “So far [the changes] seem positive.”

Bogle added that past clubs weeks have been very successful so she does not see a concern with new students’ exposure to extra-curricular groups.

In addition to attending brand new 101 sessions, frosh will also be the first students to take a pledge upon entering the university at one of two induction ceremonies.

“We wanted to echo the convocation pledge with a promise students make upon entering the university,” explained Clayton. “We are trying to get them to participate in a tradition together on campus.”

U of C 101 runs Sep. 4-7, with students attending two of the days according to their faculty.

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