August 30, 2014 7:43 pm

U of R aims for safe orientation as enrollment is at record high

Students help students move into campus housing on Saturday. Over 450 students moved in by the afternoon.

Taryn Snell / Global News

REGINA – Despite being the long-weekend, there was little time for rest and recreation for hundreds of newly-minted University of Regina students during moving day on Saturday.

“We drove 24 hours from Yellowknife to here,” said Ann Elder, a first-year bachelor of music education student, adding that she’s looking forward to experiencing “a whole new chapter.”

That new chapter can pose challenges, though, as many parents helping their children move could attest to.

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“The farm is quite usually quite a bit quieter and safer than in the city, and I just hope she realizes that, you know, not everybody is mean, but not everybody is your friend either,” said Crystal Mooney.

Mooney and her daughter, Keira, drove to the university from Star City.

“I’ve done a lot of travelling on my own with stuff, but this is definitely the first time living on my own, so I’m sure I’ll experience a lot of things that are going to scare me,” said Keira, who is enrolled in the education program.

Over 450 students moved into on-campus housing by the afternoon. While the prospects of living alone may be intimidating, the university offers help.

“There will be some partying, we can’t help that, but we’ve got a booth, if you notice, talking about responsible drinking,” said university president Vianne Timmons.

Diane Cohoon, who works in the provincial responsible service of alcohol program, operated that booth in the ground floor of the school’s South Residence.

“A drink truly is a drink is a drink. So, if you have this delicious 12 oz. beer, it’s exactly the same amount of alcohol you have in a shooter,” said Cohoon as she held up two glasses.

More booths and mental health counselors are a couple of ways the school is trying to keep this year’s 14,000-student enrollment safe.

“The highest enrollment ever, and it’s like a city within a city,” said Timmons.

The school has tried making orientation safer by changing the name of “Frosh Week” to “Welcome Week” four years ago; the idea was to disassociate the week from hazing and other similar behaviors sometimes seen in the former at schools.

“I think it’s working,” said Timmons. “I think we’re doing a very good job of educating our students about responsibility and what it’s like to live away from home, and that’s the most important thing. We’re an educational institution.”

 

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