St. George campus came alive last week as 6,000 first-year undergraduate students celebrated their entry into Canada’s largest university as part of Orientation Week.

Running from Sept. 2-6, the week included survival games at Hart House Farm, an intercollegiate tug-of-war, courtyard pub nights, and a Toronto Islands boat cruise. Each faculty, college and organization ran something different.

“The spirit stuff at the beginning was a bit lame but by the end, when everyone’s into it, it was a lot of fun,” said Stefan Banjevic, a first-year student at University College.

Part of University College’s orientation run-around included sitting at intersections along Bloor St. and stopping traffic.

Though some weren’t comfortable with all the activities, it seemed students generally had a good time while becoming acquainted with U of T’s behemoth campus.

“It was fun, really good. I just wish we were with other colleges more,” said first-year student Laila Upeslacis.

Students also enjoyed the chance to relax, forge friendships and get comfortable with the diversity of students who come to U of T.

“The great part was meeting people from all these different places and backgrounds, studying absolutely everything,” said Seriena Flicht, who is entering the first-year stream of Life Sciences.

Orientation Week finished up with the annual SAC carnival, attended by an estimated 9000 undergraduate and graduate students. Hart House Circle was filled with fairgoers checking out clubs and student organizations, while Front Campus field held free food and a variety of sign-up booths from commercial and corporate sponsors.

Both the Front and Back Campus fields held concert stages with only small crowds attending. Headline hip-hop act Dead Prez was unable to cross the U.S.-Canadian border, allegedly due to weapons charges, but Rascalz and Ghetto Concept more than made up for the disappointment.

The event’s theme was a Hawaiian luau, though most students were unaware of it.

“I thought it was pretty cool. I know it’s hard to meet everyone’s interests, but it was pretty good,” said Laurie Guthrie, a first-year Victoria College student in the Commerce program.

First-year students from Scarborough and Erindale colleges joined their St. George brethren in a parade on and off campus before flooding the carnival, which, according to SAC was a success.

“We had a huge turnout with a lot of spirit,” said Cheriana Hansen, Orientation Co-ordinator for the carnival. “You could see that everyone was having a good time.”

Photograph by Simon Turnbull

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