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Orientation Week has welcomed generations of new students to campus

Take a look back at how traditions have evolved over the past 50 years
September 6, 2016
University of Calgary freshman celebrate school spirit and the start of university during Introduction Week. 1968. UARC82.010_3.45 Photo courtesy of University Archives

University of Calgary freshmen celebrate school spirit and the start of university during Introduction Week in 1968. UARC82.010_3.45 Photo courtesy of University Archives

2016 marks 50 years of the University of Calgary being part of this vibrant, energetic city and we have a great deal to celebrate. Led by the Eyes High vision, we’ve become the top-ranked young university in Canada and North America. Every year we welcome thousands of new students to our university family.

Homecoming Days, Welcome Week, Frosh Week, UC101. The first week of fall term at the University of Calgary has gone by many names over the last 50 years, but it has always been about the same thing: kicking off the school year with a bang.

Now called Orientation Week, UCalgary is set to welcome 4,000 new students this week with welcome activities, social events and academic transition support programming. Driving Orientation Week 2016 is the theme We Are All Dinos, intended to connect incoming students to their peers, and to the long legacy of UCalgary pride built over the last 50 years.

OWeek has evolved from its early beginnings. Before the introduction of online course registration in the early-2000s, welcome week included a mass registration where students would come to campus to enrol in their courses at a registration desk in the enrolment services building. Throughout the week, students also had the opportunity to attend different social events, such as barbecues and concerts to welcome them to campus.

Events to transition new students to campus life

After registration switched to online, university administrators recognized the importance of providing in-person support services and social programs to help students transition effectively to university. In 1996, a four-day program known as UofC 101 was launched, aiming to help students succeed both inside and outside of the classroom.  Re-branded Orientation Week in 2008, this year's celebration includes over 20 events ranging from academic success workshops to dance parties to service-learning projects across the city.  KICKOFF, the first Dinos football home game of the season, ends an action-packed week with thousands of students crowding McMahon Stadium to enjoy a free barbecue, SU Funzone tailgate party, and to cheer on Dinos athletes.

More than 300 student leaders, known as orientation leaders, or OLs, lead the high-energy week and devote over 10,000 collective volunteer hours to ensuring the newest members of the campus community transition successfully to their new academic home. 

OWeek 2016 Feature Events

UCalgary Strong Carnival
When: Thursday, Sept 8, 4 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Where: MacEwan Hall

KICKOFF Tailgate party and football game
Where: McMahon Stadium
When: Friday, Sept. 9, Tailgate: 3:30 p.m., KICKOFF 5:30 p.m.

As OWeek 2016 gets underway, UToday dug into the university archives for a look back at welcome weeks in years past.

If you liked this slideshow, check out the 50th Anniversary website. It contains a rich collection of archive photos, videos, personal stories and fascinating facts about the University of Calgary’s journey  contribute your own story there and remember to share it with your friends and family using the hashtag #ucalgary50.