Day gives newcomers their campus bearings

by Bruce Mason
Staff writer

More than 1,600 new undergraduate students are expected to take advantage of the Alma Mater Society Orientations, Aug.3 to Sept. 4.

Each student who signs up for the comprehensive program spends a busy day, which includes workshops on study skills, library and Internet orientation, sessions on fees, text books, parking and residences, and tips on how to navigate campus and find the "cool spots."

"Students' guides are in the same faculty as incoming students. They have been in the new student's shoes and have received more than 40 hours of training," says Marcie Moriarty, director of the program.

Together with assistant director Amy Patterson, Moriarty visited 70 B.C. secondary schools in May as part of the student-run initiative.

AMS Orientation has evolved at UBC since the 1940s, primarily through student feedback. It was originally staged during the beginning of the academic year and featured a Frosh Reception, "Frosh Olympics" fireworks, faculty lectures and a Frosh Retreat at Camp Elphinstone on the Sunshine Coast.

Attendance was low and a report in the early '90s recommended switching to a summertime introduction program.

The new program is designed as a two-part package with Imagine UBC, the university's welcome to new first-year students which takes place Sept. 7.

Former Biology student Moriarty and Patterson, who studied Women's Studies and Religious Studies, strongly advise new students to take part in both programs.

"UBC can be daunting and downright chaotic at first, but we're here to help new students make adjustments and have a smooth transition," says Patterson.

"They really appreciate having an opportunity to ask questions and reduce their individual fear and anxiety," adds Moriarty.

The $25 orientation fee includes lunch and a clipboard packed with information. New students who still haven't registered can show up a few minutes before 9 a.m. under the orientation banner in the Student Union Building. There is also a special $10 program for parents.

To register or for more information call 604-822-9084, or visit the Web site at