Planning Welcome Week 2018

Rebecca Kingston and Chloé Saulnier are already looking forward to September.

Kingston, Welcome Week Chair, and Saulnier, Welcome Week Coordinator, are spending the summer preparing activities and programming that will serve as an introduction to the STU community and ease the transition of first-year students arriving on campus this fall.

“Welcome Week really sets the tone for the year,” Saulnier said. “It’s a great reflection of who we are as a school—there’s excitement, people are involved in activities, and it’s an introduction to student services and academics.”

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Saulnier, of Bathurst, NB, and Kingston, of Miramichi, NB, hold fond memories of their own Welcome Week: STUfari 2015. The highlight for both was the annual Cheer Off, an event that brings all first-year students—including students living off campus—together in the lower courtyard to compete for the title of loudest and proudest group on campus.

“I was a bit overwhelmed at first, but when we did the cheer off I realized this was something I’d never experienced before and that everyone was in the same boat,” Kingston said.

For Saulnier, the event offered an opportunity to make friends.

“Before the Cheer Off, I didn’t have many friends on campus. I didn’t know anyone when I came to STU except one person and they didn’t live in my residence, so to meet the people in my residence and then bring all those new friends to the cheer off made me realize I had a place at STU.”

This year’s Welcome Week will include the classic events, like Cheer Off, Casino Night, and Shine Day, but Kingston and Saulnier are also planning to include more campus-wide activities.

“We’re working to really integrate the off-campus students and include more Indigenous events so we can support all aspects of our community,” Kingston said.

Making the move from High School to University

While the week is a fun introduction to life on campus, the Welcome Week team is also aware the transition from high school to university comes with a lot of new territory. With this in mind, they’re incorporating activities that will help make students more comfortable.

“It’s a big transition and our goal is to make it as smooth as possible. We make a point to showcase all the services that STU has to offer. Whether you need mental health resources or academic resources, it’s important you know they are there,” Kingston said.

The Academic Transition Day and Scavenger Hunt around campus are two activities that put Saulnier and Kingston at ease during their first week at STU.

“The Scavenger Hunt is like a fun campus tour where you see the buildings, where your classes are, and where the different services are located,” Saulnier said. “It’s a short portion of the week, but it assured me I wouldn’t get lost and if I needed certain services I knew where to go and who to talk to.”

Kingston said Academic Transition Day, which takes place the day before classes begin, was the most useful event of her Welcome Week experience.

“The professors involved really broke things down—what class is like, how often you have class, what the expectations are—and I found that really helpful. It relieved my stress and I appreciated that.”

Campus life plays a large role in the university experience and Kingston and Saulnier want this year’s first-year class to get off on the right foot. Their advice: know what you need and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

“Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. The people who work at the university are here to help and want to help,” Kingston said.

“Get to know yourself and get to know what your priorities are,” Saulnier added. “Find what you like and find what you need—that will help you have a positive university experience.”