CSU Kicks Off Orientation Week

This year’s Orientation festivities will see the addition of several new events—and the return of some old ones too—that promise to be not only a good time, but to also provide students with a unique cultural and environmental experience.

The annual Orientation activities organized by the Concordia Student Union are set to begin with the first day of classes on Sept. 3, running until Sept. 12.

“I think that the events are pretty well rounded [this year],” said CSU VP Student Life Katrina Caruso. “I will be happy with seeing people have a good time, and I will feel good in hearing positive things coming back from the [university’s] administration and also security.”

Caruso said there has been a “really supportive, healthy atmosphere” between the university’s administration and the students involved in organizing Orientation events, who have been collaborating to ensure that the two weeks of festivities are fun and safe for everyone.

Affordable Art

Caruso, a fine arts student majoring in art history, says that she loves “supporting student initiatives and […] local, young, emerging artists.” It shouldn’t be surprising then that she jumped at the opportunity to hold an art fair with Überculture, a group of art-loving Concordia students and recent graduates working for social change, when the possibility presented itself.

“We have a very creative, rich culture at [this] university,” Caruso said. “I think that we should be showing more of it off. And what better way to do that than at an Orientation event?”

Students will be able to view and buy pieces of art, trinkets and oddities created by both Concordia students and professional artists. Caruso said that everything will be “affordable” and “easily accessible” for students, many of whom might have just moved into their first apartment and are in need of something beautiful or inspiring to put on their bare walls.

Caruso also said she doesn’t believe there’s ever been a similar Orientation event in the past, and she thinks it will prove to be a popular one.

The art market takes place Sept. 4 and 5 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the EV building’s atrium. The event is cash-only.

Being Green

One of the returning events this year is the Sustainable Food Fest. Caruso said the event will look at “sustainability from multiple sides,” providing students with information on how they can get involved in the many student-led groups looking to make Concordia and the wider community more environmentally-friendly.

The CSU had originally considered inviting more outside groups, like farmers, to come and participate in the event. But in the end most of the participants will be Concordia-based, Caruso said.

“I think it’ll be a really cool way for students to understand what’s going on locally and within the university,” Caruso said, adding that there will be live music by punk band Riot Porn and indie singer Vivian Kaloxilos. “That’s my vision for the day—fun, light-hearted.”

On the whole, all Orientation events will be a little more environmentally friendly this year, with the CSU working hard to make sure that students take advantage of the composting bins that will be found at many Orientation events, Caruso said.

A “green team” wearing mascot outfits will also encourage students to use reusable mugs and promote recycling.

Other Events

The CSU’s budget for this year’s Orientation is $155,000. VP Finance Scott Carr told The Link in June that this included the $75,000 cost of having a big-name act at the often-expensive concert that highlights the two-week extravaganza.

The CSU announced on Aug. 26 that electronic artists Dada Life and Tommy Trash will headline that concert which—as opposed to years past—will take place off-campus at Parc Jean-Drapeau, the site of Expo ’67.

Orientation events will also provide a stage for a number of smaller acts.

Two jazz bands—a Concordia-based band led by Julien Sandiford and the McGill-based Evan MacDonald Quartet—will perform on the 11th-floor terrace of the EV building on Sept. 9 between 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Students in attendance will be able to enjoy cocktails, hors-d’oeuvres and a stunning view of the Montreal skyline.

Meanwhile, Reggie’s, which is owned and operated by the student union’s for-profit arm CUSACorp, will host a poetry slam and open mic night from 6:30 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. on Sept. 11. Students are invited to come and watch others “perform their acts and creations,” according to the orientation website.

The CSU also printed 11,000 copies of its annual handbook this year. The agendas, which contain a wealth of information on services and student groups at the university, will be distributed to students for free at both the Sir George Williams and Loyola campus CSU offices, located in the Hall and SC buildings, respectively.

Caruso also said that CSU staff would be giving out the handbook to students buying their books at Concordia’s two bookstores.