The evolution of Orientation Week

I don’t remember much from my Orientation Week at U of W; my first day of school was September 10, 2001, so things got a little heavy on day two.

People were gathered around televisions set up outside the library, and if there was a beer bash, it was most likely sparsely attended.

In the time since this writer graduated in 2007, O-Week has undergone a pretty big shift, most notably moving from the quad to the Spence Street Promenade.

I sat down with Fraser Auld, the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association Events Coordinator/DJ/occasional U of M film student who has helped to turn O-Week into a mini-festival. Auld believes that creating a positive atmosphere for every student is as important as having a good time.

“One of the things that we identified since last year’s O-Week is the need for a space for students who, for personal or cultural reasons, are not comfortable drinking,” he says.

The solution? A second stage with non-amplified acts, located outside of the beer garden.

Another shift is moving the content of O-Week towards more of a festival atmosphere. Auld believes that bringing in Brooklyn party-starters Telephoned is more likely to engage students than a singer-songwriter.

“It’s a celebration,” Auld says. “A deeply personal singer-songwriter performance might be more appropriate for an intimate venue like the Ellice Theatre, but a big beer garden where we’re excited about being back on campus - it’s not a frat party by any stretch - but it’s a little bit more excitement oriented.”

And celebrate they shall, as the most buzzed-about local bands will be playing.

From Wednesday to Friday, between 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., you can catch the likes of This Hisses, The Bokononists, Mise en Scene and The Thrashers, as well as Toronto dancehall duo Bonjay.

Spinning in between sets will be Winnipeg’s own DJ Co-op.

O-Week is a free event and open to everyone.

Published in Volume 66, Number 1 of The Uniter (September 2, 2011)

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