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REF NO.: 385

SUBJECT: Orientation welcomes fresh faces to Memorial
DATE: Aug. 29, 2005

The Human Pretzel, the Mummy Rap and a Crazy Balloon Toss – those are just some of the offbeat competitions that will welcome the roughly 2,200 new students to Memorial University’s St. John’s campus during Orientation 2005, taking place Sept. 5-6.

This year’s activities are staying true to the annual event’s legendary reputation of offering a fun-filled first welcome to university life to thousands of students.

Orientation 2005 – which has been dubbed “Right Here, Right Now” – is an opportunity to create friendships, learn more about the university and discover what’s special about Memorial.

“Orientation is a student’s first official impression of Memorial University,” said Jessica Clarke, this year’s student co-ordinator. “It sets a base for atmosphere, knowledge, leadership and learning during one’s university career.”

At this year’s events, freshman students will attend a variety of fun activities over a two-day period, including Wacky Olympics, icebreakers, trivia challenges and a barbeque. Then there’s the serious side to orientation with events such as campus tours, a career planning workshop and Money Matters – a session which will give students proper financial management advice. Special sessions have been slated for international, mature and transfer students.

First-year students will also have a chance to learn more about the societies and student services at Memorial. Faculty will also be on hand to speak with students about specific courses and the various schools at the university and will help facilitate some sessions.

“More than a time of celebration, orientation provides students with information that can ensure their success as university students,” said Dr. Lilly Walker, dean of Student Affairs and Services. “Arriving with many unanswered questions, orientation provides them with the educational sessions, informal groups and opportunities to meet new friends that can make their transition to university personally successful.”

That was the biggest benefit of last year’s event for Shuvrojit Ghosh, who is originally from Bangladesh and is completing a major in business administration with a minor in computer science. He said he was able to discover new things about Memorial during orientation and learn about Newfoundland and Labrador’s culture. “It’s an opportunity to meet new people, make new friends and break the shyness and communication barrier,” said Mr. Ghosh. “I think it makes the transition to a new culture much easier. The international students, who have some problems with their English, can practise and improve. And of course they can have some fun before school starts.”

First-year student Kayla Osmond hopes orientation can make her transition from high school to university much smoother. The Mount Pearl native said she is nervous about starting a new chapter in her academic career but hopes orientation will give her an idea of what’s involved in university life.

“I hope to find out more about the campus, learn about some courses and what the next four or five years will be like for me,” she said. “I’m also looking forward to meeting some new people. It’ll be nice to meet new people from different parts of the province or country.”

Orientation 2005 Right Here Right Now is being held on Monday, Sept. 5, and Tuesday, Sept. 6. Registration takes place between 12 and 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 5 in the Field House.

Catering to a large and diverse student body, Memorial offers orientation groups for first-year students, those who have transferred from another post-secondary institution, international students and mature students.

Parents’ Orientation takes place on Sunday, Sept. 4, or Monday, Sept. 5, and includes sessions with officials with the academic advising office and career development. Parents can choose which ever day is more convenient for them.

Meanwhile, officials at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Corner Brook are putting the final touches on their week-long orientation activities, taking place Sept. 4-10. This year’s theme is “With You From the Start.” A variety of events are scheduled including an information session on the different services available at Grenfell, campus tours, live bands, a Hawaiian theme dance, games, a barbeque and a video game tournament. There will also be Parents’ and Non-Traditional Student Orientations as well. Events and schedules have been posted to their Web site www.swgc.mun.ca/orientation/.

This year’s organizers note that orientation is a great launching pad for a successful university career.

“Orientation develops leadership, and encourages further participation in leadership programs, organizations and groups both on campus and in the community,” said Ms. Clarke. “People who get involved are known be more successful academically. Orientation is a great kick of to a student’s future and it all starts Right Here, Right Now!”

Note to editors: Media agencies are invited to send representatives to all Orientation events. In St. John’s please see the Orientation line-up at www.mun.ca/orientation . In Corner Brook please see the Orientation line-up at www.swgc.mun.ca/orientation/.

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