Frosh 2020 lives online

Swapping out partying for virtual workshops

Graphic Maria Chabelnik

Funnelling three beers, being carried back to your dorm room, and losing your phone for the third time today are likely what come to mind when hearing the word frosh. But it won’t look like that this year.

After weeks of scrambling, this year’s frosh will be more about meeting fellow students over Zoom for online trivia nights, bingo, and even Zumba classes.

“[Organizing frosh and orientation] has been a huge challenge,” said Eduardo Malorni, the Concordia Student Union’s student life coordinator. “This year nobody really knows what is going on. Between waiting for government updates and university updates as to what is possible to do, it puts us in constant limbo.”

“The amount of time I spent talking about ways to prevent dick pics is ridiculous,” — Eduardo Malorni

Student associations had free rein over the types of events they were organizing. Some chose to follow typical structures by keeping frosh leaders and froshees, while others opted for more informative events.

The Fine Arts Student Alliance, for example, opted for more online art exhibits, meetings with local artists, and discussions about internships and expectations. They also worked on organizing online athletic events like yoga classes.

The Commerce and Administration Student Association offered in-person social distant activities such as a High Intensity Interval Training workout at the Percival Molson Memorial Stadium and a scavenger hunt throughout the Old Port.

One of the biggest challenges for student associations has been changing the nature of the events. Whereas last year’s activities were targeted towards meeting fellow students, this year’s goal is to provide useful workshops and tools to virtually explore the school while also providing entertaining activities to get students off their couches, explained Malorni.

On top of preparing to manage thousands of students over Zoom, CSU staff worked on modifying the mandatory consent training that frosh leaders go through. Whereas in previous years consent training focused on proper behaviours at social events, this year’s will be about avoiding harassment to fit the challenges of being online, explained Malorni.

“In past years we had to worry about things such as people inappropriately touching others or trying to pressure them into drinking or performing sexual acts. This year, in contrast, we need to worry about people inappropriately messaging people or beginning to stalk them on their social media and continue the harassment since it’s much easier to find someone if their name is displayed at an online event,” Malorni said. “Or sending unsolicited dick pics—the amount of time I spent talking about ways to prevent dick pics is ridiculous,” he added.

Traditionally, frosh leaders were trained to spot individuals in distress and moderate the alcohol consumption. However, spotting those behaviours online is much more challenging.

Nevertheless, Malorni is confident the revamped consent training will be a success.
Though not all associations took the same avenue, they all shared the same goal: making frosh 2020 as memorable and enjoyable as possible despite the unordinary context of the pandemic.

This article originally appeared in The Disorientation Issue, published September 8, 2020.