CAMPUS: Frosh gets a fresh new face

Many things probably come to mind when one hears the word ‘Frosh.’ Debauchery, drunken antics on lower field, or perhaps an opportunity to take advantage of unsuspecting freshmen. This year’s SSMU Frosh attempted to change some of the images surrounding Frosh Week and change the focus of the event.

“We wanted to get back to having Frosh be about the school,” said SSMU Frosh coordinator and six year frosh veteran Alex Kipz. “This year we just gave it our best shot and tried to put together the classics – it’s all about the school.”

Kipz acknowledged that Frosh planners had a new set of problems this year due to last year’s controversy.

“Our biggest obstacle [this year] was showing the bureaucracy and press that there are a million good aspects,” he said.

From the athletic inspired red and white T-shirts to McGill inspired events, this year’s frosh was about promoting school spirit and integrity.

“We have to prove that we are responsible people. Yes we party hard, but we plan our events well and that’s that,” said SSMU Vice President Communications and Events Gill Prendergast.

This year’s Frosh sported a diverse set of activities. The three biggest events were the whitewater rafting expedition, which is a Frosh staple, the return of the residence barbeque on Forbes Field, and a Sam Roberts concert on the final day.

“I think that the popularity of the rafting shows a lot about McGill character,” said Kipz. “It shows that McGill students want to get off the campus and see what there is outside the campus and outside the city.”

The barbeque on Forbes Field was once a standard McGill Frosh activity, but hasn’t been held in nine years. In the past it has appeared on the David Letterman show, and by bringing it back, the Frosh staff hoped to bring back some of that excitement.

“I’m looking forward to that the most,” said Kipz. “It’s going to be a beautiful thing to see.”

The Sam Roberts concert was possibly the most anticipated of the two days. The band ended its tour at McGill and Ticketmaster was involved to sell tickets.

“That concert is pretty much the only reason I decided to do Frosh,” said Amanda Schneider, U0 Psychology.

To keep participants from being overwhelmed, they were allowed to pick and chose the events they would attend.

“If you make too rich a schedule they feel forced to do stuff,” said Kipz. “Here they have an option – it’s up to you and that’s what the school is about.”

Frosh registration was $65 and included all the events, food and of course the infamous beer tent. Boréale was re-signed for the beer contract this year after a successful partnership last year. The company provided the beer tent, and set it up like a proper running bar.

“In the past we’ve had problems with beer being half foam or too warm, but Boréale has been really amazing,” said one O-Staff member.

One hundred kegs were bought for the planned 2,000 participants plus staff. Whatever was not consumed at Frosh will be sold at other SSMU events like 4 Floors.After the hazing controversy last year there was intense scrutiny on Frosh events, which meant the organizers had to do some things differently.

“McGill wanted a lot more forms and information this year because of what happened last year,” said Prendergast. For the first time in Frosh history, all O-Staff members were actually staff, having signed legally binding contracts. Staff also had to sign a morality contract in an attempt to prevent them from engaging in any inappropriate behaviour.

Besides the boozing and good times, Frosh has always aimed to raise a sense of the SSMU community and make the incoming students feel welcome.

“We want to promote school spirit,” said Prendergast. “I feel like we’re really lacking there. That’s why we’re doing things like the rugby game and the barbeque on Forbes Field. We want to focus on supporting our own.”

Even Discover McGill got a makeover with the introduction of the Street Fest on McTavish where students could check out some of the services offered by SSMU and McGill.

Although this year was meant to be more responsible and orientation focused, there were signs last week that it may be unavoidable. TV cameras were on lower field early in the week and there was debate over putting condoms in the Frosh kits distributed to all participating students.

“We’ve been putting condoms in Frosh bags for over ten years,” said Kipz, “I don’t understand why there’s all this controversy now.”

There might be some new plans for Frosh on the horizon.

“I want to sit down with the organizers from all [Faculty Froshes] and try to get it all together,” said Prendergast. “I think it would be great if we could all organize and plan things. I don’t want to take away from the faculty froshes, but I’m thinking about combining Discover McGill and Frosh and getting a whole orientation week committee so everyone is on the same page.”

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