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Woodsworth College’s Students Association Prepares for Orientation Week 2020

Plans are underway to adapt to the current COVID environment

Orientation Week photo with mascot

By Emily Allison, Staff Writer

In light of COVID 19, the University of Toronto is implementing extra health and safety precautions on campus to ensure the physical wellbeing of the U of T community. In light of this, one of the most popular events of the fall term, Orientation week, is also adapting to this ever-changing COVID environment. Orientation week is eagerly anticipated by incoming students as a chance to meet lifelong friends, get acquainted with Toronto and the U of T campus, and have fun! Although Orientation will not be in person this year, first year students will still have the opportunity to participate in activities and learn from their leaders to transition smoothly into university life.

In addition to being the Woodsworth Students’ Association president, Andrew Gallant oversees and collaborates with the Orientation team to provide a memorable and inclusive experience to all incoming students. “Orientation Week is currently being planned by our two wonderful Orientation Coordinators, Tarish and Setareh with the assistance of their awesome team, David, Christina, Skylar, Kannav and Irmak. The Orientation team makes sure that Orientation, the Association's biggest social event of the year, complements our overall goal of promoting the inclusion and wellbeing of Woodsworth Students,” said Gallant.

According to Gallant, the Woodsworth College Orientation team has been working tirelessly to ensure that this fun and exciting learning experience can be done in a safe and secure environment. “The physical wellbeing of all students is always our top priority, and COVID-19 has forced us to consider the safety of our students much more closely. To accommodate the wellbeing of our students, we have decided to transition Orientation into an entirely online model, as most of the University is as well. All events will be conducted over a video conferencing platform, thereby ensuring that students do not have to put themselves at risk by encountering one another,” said Gallant.  

Although this year’s orientation will be virtual, the Orientation team has many interactive activities planned for incoming students to welcome them to the Woodsworth College community. “Students will be divided into groups like they normally are based on academic interests, and they will participate in all the activities planned in those groups. The itinerary is not yet finalized but we are currently looking into movie streaming, online games, live Q and A session as well as a few other possible add-ons,” said Gallant.

The Orientation team has also made plans to accommodate for students who will not be able to travel to Toronto in the fall. “Events will be held asynchronously for students based on their groups. Groups will be assembled in part based on time zone so that students do not have to adhere to Toronto time to participate. Because all events will be online, students will not have to be downtown to participate. Orientation kits will be held by our team for pick up so even if students can't be on campus during the fall semester, they should be able to pick their kit up in the winter,” said Gallant.

Orientation is a valuable time for incoming students to get to know their peers and immerse themselves into the Woodsworth College community. Although COVID has affected the way Orientation is being delivered this year, Gallant and the rest of the Orientation team have planned a fun and educational week of social activities that incoming students will never forget!