‘Really fulfilling’: Welcome Week told by organizers, volunteers

Meeting new people, getting familiar with campus and starting a new chapter in life – all of it begins with Welcome Week – one week at the beginning of the school year jam-packed with a wide variety of activities for students to take part in and enjoy.

From Sept. 1 to Sept. 14, new and returning students engaged in a wide variety of events orchestrated by St. Thomas University’s Welcome Week Chair, Grace Finlay, and event volunteers.

“It’s so important to meet those within your program and within other programs in your incoming class,” said Finlay. “They’re doing the exact same transition as you so there’s a lot of solace and comfort in that. But [Welcome Week is] also just really fun.”

The planning for Welcome Week starts all the way back in May. The Transitions Advisory Committee – consisting of Finlay, Talia Coderre and Brett McCavour – brainstorm specific events, reach out to sponsors and finalize the budget for the events. 

“[Our goal is to ensure] that we’re thinking about how to make the transition … as comfortable and smooth as it can be,” said Coderre. “There are so many things to be nervous about [when starting university], but there are also so many things to be excited about!”

Finlay explained that the events themselves are split into three groups: academic, wellness and social. While some focus on introducing students to important resources, others focus more on building connections with fellow students.

“We hoped [these events] would help people build connections,” she said. “That to me is like ‘okay, … we succeeded.’”

Finlay said the energy brought by the volunteers and incoming students makes each event exciting and unique.

Second year student Grace Cunningham volunteered for Welcome Week and said it was sometimes hard to prove she wasn’t exaggerating her STU pride at events.

“This isn’t me being gimmicky because I’m a volunteer, I genuinely love STU!” she laughed. “[Welcome Week] made me really excited to go back [to STU] too, because the whole campus is just alive with people.”

Though the week was full of events, Cheer Off stands out as a highlight. Taking place early in the week, many students are still nervous and intimidated by the new environment. By the end of the night, however, things have changed.

“It’s really fulfilling, turning the nervous energy into that excited energy.” said Coderre. “Watching everyone down there, cheering for each other, and cheering for other teams, … regardless of what the outcome was. It was so heartwarming.”

With this year’s events complete, it’s time to look to the future — for students and organizers alike. Planning has already begun for next year.

“I’m so grateful that I get to continue to do this work,” said Finlay. “[It’s] so fulfilling and meaningful, … and I can’t wait for next year!”