Welcome for new students planned

For the 5,000 first-year students entering UBC this fall, the first day of classes should be an enriching experience. Organizers of the university's first campus-wide welcome certainly hope so.

"Right now what new students get is a very, very large student number," says Alison Dunnet, a third-year political science student and co-chair of the planned orientation day. "We'd like to give people a more personal connection with UBC on their first day."

The welcoming plan is to have students from the same faculty, who will share a course or seminar, meet in groups of 20 on the morning of Sept. 2. Third and fourth-year students will be assigned as group leaders to initially greet newcomers and usher them to a mass event possibly at MacInnes Field or Thunderbird Stadium.

"It won't be 20 randomly assigned students but students who will be interacting with each other in at least the first term," says Neil Guppy, Dunnet's co-chair and associate dean of Arts. "This is a way to say to new arrivals that we are proud you are here and we want to give you some pointers to success."

After inspiring talks from UBC, Alma Mater Society and Alumni Association presidents, the mass gathering will again break into groups for "survive and thrive" workshops.

A brown bag lunch will be followed by an academic scavenger hunt and faculty-specific events introducing deans, alumni and faculty members.

The day, billed as Imagine '97, will wind up with a barbecue and dance.

"This is just a start and future years may well extend this welcome beyond a single day," says Guppy.

Nestor Korchinsky, co-ordinator of UBC's Intramural Sports and Recreation Program, is hoping to create a greater sense of community by building on traditional events such as Day of the Longboat and Storm the Wall.

"We want to create a heightened competitive spirit throughout the year and introduce new innovative events, not just in sport, to get people involved in campus life," says Korchinsky.

Those interested in volunteering for the welcoming day can call Joyce D'Souza at 822-6700.