A Shorter Frosh

McGill/News by
Adam Scotti

Due to calendar changes made by the university administration, Frosh is likely to change dramatically next year, with a variety of social and orientation events packed into a shorter time frame.

The details of the proposed changes are still being discussed, but a key factor driving them is a later date for first-year students to move into McGill residences.  

In previous years, the university generally scheduled at least a week between the two days allotted for first-year students to move in—usually a weekend, to avoid disrupting downtown during business hours—and the start of class. Last fall, for example, students moved in on August 21 and 22, a full 10 days before classes began on September 1.

Next year, however, the amount of time between the move-in date and the start of classes is set to be greatly compressed. First-year students are tentatively set to move in on August 27 and 28, according to Michael Porritt, McGill’s director of residences, with the possibility for some move-ins to begin Friday afternoon. Classes are scheduled to begin three days later, on Thursday, September 1.

This greatly compressed schedule–the reasons for which remain somewhat unclear–has forced the students who plan Frosh to re-imagine what the event will look like.

Students’ Society Vice-President Internal Tom Fabian, who planned this year’s SSMU Frosh, first learned of the calendar changes shortly after the end of this year’s Frosh. “It’s unfortunate the university did it that way,” Fabian said, referring to the calendar change, “But we can’t do anything to change it now.”

Instead, Fabian and a number of other student leaders, as well as university employees including First Year Coordinator Leslie Copeland and Dean of Students Jane Everett, formed the Integrated Orientation Working Group, which has met regularly to discuss ways to reinvent Frosh.

Though the working group has yet to make any firm decisions, Fabian said, a number of proposals are currently under consideration. Frosh and other orientation activities will most likely be divided in two, he said, with three days of events before the start of classes and an additional two days the following weekend. In addition, orientation activities—such as Discover McGill, an event typically held before Frosh kicks off—will probably be more closely integrated with Frosh.

To fit both Frosh and orientation activities into fewer days, Fabian said, he is considering tying SSMU Frosh and the various faculty Froshes more closely together. Students may buy just one Frosh ticket next year, he said, rather than two separate ones, and SSMU Frosh may be compressed into one day.

Arts Undergraduate Society President Dave Marshall, one of the working group members, said that he is optimistic about the changes, he said, but hopes that the faculty Froshes retain their individual character.

“It would be a shame if the faculty orientations didn’t happen, because a lot of the stuff the AUS runs during Frosh is for students to understand what their role is, what the Faculty of Arts is,” he said. “There’s something very different about the way Science Frosh runs and Arts Frosh runs.”

Fabian is also considering several other changes to Frosh, such as recruiting upperclassmen to volunteer as leaders for the entire orientation week instead of simply selecting Frosh leaders.

“One thing I’m thinking about is having drink tickets,” he said, which could replace the bracelets that have allowed students to receive unlimited rounds of beer in previous years. The tickets might also be valid for food items, Fabian said.

Each of these proposals remains tentative, Fabian said, but he hopes to present a preliminary Frosh schedule to the Integrated Orientation Working Group by the end of next week. He also plans to bring his proposals before SSMU Council.

“The finalized schedule is going to take some people aback,” he said, “but everyone will have to adapt.”