Brock ready to kick-off first-ever Virtual Welcome Week

Brock University is ready to welcome thousands of new students with its annual Welcome Week in an innovative and virtual way.

First-year university students all over the world will take part in a much different experience than students in past years, but Brock is not letting the COVID-19 restrictions stop them from welcoming the newest Badgers.

This year’s Virtual Welcome Week programs and events have been designed for incoming students by a wide range of Brock departments, as well as the Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU) and Graduate Students’ Association (GSA). New students are invited to participate in all of the Welcome Week events, which are packed with activities and games, while also focusing on setting up students for a successful first year.

As part of Welcome Week, BUSU has created a fully online and interactive experience for new students. BadgerFest 2020, which kicks off Tuesday, Sept. 8, takes some of the most popular events from the past and turns them virtual while also creating new, digital events that haven’t been done before at Brock. 

BUSU President Asad Jalib said BUSU is continuing to adapt to students’ needs, ensuring their success academically and socially this year.

“As 2020 continues to push us to be more innovative than ever before, our Welcome Week serves as an excellent taste of how BUSU is adapting to change and making the best of the current reality,” said Jalib. “Nothing will stop us from doing everything we can to ensure that Brock students have a memorable and formative student experience this year. 

Building on the successful Smart Start and BU4U support programs that launched virtually this summer, Brock’s Virtual Welcome Week will help incoming students make the transition to post-secondary education as smooth as possible.

The line-up provides incoming students with the opportunity to meet classmates, develop friendships and learn everything about what Brock offers in terms of academic services, student support services and ways to get involved.

For example, on Wednesday, Sept. 9 students can join a Microsoft Teams video call that will give a detailed look into Brock’s various online platforms that students will be using throughout the year. Also on Sept. 9, another Teams meeting will explain how this semester’s online seminars will work. For more information about Welcome Week and the events schedule, visit Brock’s Orientation website.

New students can register for the Virtual New Student Welcome and Academic Orientation (NSWAO) event, which will go live Sept. 8 at 9 a.m. This will be an official welcome to the University that will provide an interactive experience tailored to each students’ Faculty.

The NSWAO experience will include video messages from Brock President and Vice-Chancellor Gervan Fearon, a keynote address from Brock graduate Tim Arnold (BBA ’96, MA ’19), as well as videos submitted by upper-year Brock students. The NSWAO will also connect students to their academic orientation sessions, where they will receive important information virtually about academic supports and resources from their Faculties. Students can register on ExperienceBU and will receive a link to the experience through their student email on Sept. 8 at 9 a.m.

Brock International Services has also created a Virtual Fall Orientation running from Monday, Aug. 31 to Friday, Sept. 4, which teaches new students about Brock’s academic advising, language supports, online learning platforms, ways to get involved and the University’s health insurance plan.

International Orientation Week is complete with activities, events and contests, which are available to every Brock student. To see a full list of scheduled events, visit International Services.

Graduate Studies is joining in the virtual fun by launching its own orientation website, which will go live Monday, Sept. 7. The website will feature videos of Fearon and Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies Suzanne Curtin.

The website will provide an overview of all student services relevant to graduate services and introduce students to key contacts around the University. Many of the student services are hosting virtual information sessions exclusively for graduate students. Times will be posted on the website when they become available.

The Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) will be hosting an orientation session Tuesday, Sept. 8 from 3 to 4 p.m. Christopher Yendt, GSA President, Barb Daly, GSA Executive Director and Mary Tibollo, GSA Office and Health Plan Administrator, will be joined by a representative of their Health and Dental Plan provider for students to learn about GSA and the services they provide. Students can join the meeting by using this Zoom link and the passcode 470205.

Ahead of the kick-off of Virtual Welcome Week, approximately 300 students will be moving into Brock residences on Sunday, Sept. 6. This year, to adhere to Niagara Public Health COVID-19 guidelines, the students will be moving into suite-style residences on a specific schedule in order to respect physical distancing regulations.

After their first night in residence, the new Brock students will join others from across the world during Virtual Welcome Week.

“Although all events are going to be virtual, we have brought back favourites from past years to our new virtual sphere and are introducing some new and exciting activities,” said Raadhiyah Zowmi, BUSU Vice-President, Student Services. “Despite the challenges of COVID-19, our team has been hard at work to give new Badgers the experience they have been waiting for.”

First-year Badgers will have the chance to enjoy friendly competition by starting off the week on a high note with ‘We Got Game! Campus vs. Campus eSports.’ This is a daily e-sports tournament where Brock students will play against students from universities across Canada. A new game will be featured each day.

A Welcome Week tradition, Dirty Bingo, is back Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. hosted by Vanity A La Mode. Going live on YouTube, students will have the chance to win some intimate prizes. 

On Sept. 10, Brock is once again teaming up with universities across the country to host a virtual concert featuring The Reklaws, Tyson Ritter of The All-American Rejects, A Tribe Called Red, Roy Woods, Pink Sweats and Lennon Stella. From 7 p.m. until the final performance beginning at 10:15 p.m., students can tune in with others across Canada to join the Campus Concert Kick-Off.

To wrap up Welcome Week, students are invited to Variety Night, where they can witness Mighty Mike, Kobbler Jay and the Monsters of Schlock perform their feats of strength and circus performances.

All Welcome Week events are free to first-year students. For the full schedule, visit the Brock Orientation website and BadgerFEST website. Please read the FAQs to answer questions about the start of term, orientation or Virtual Welcome Week.

Beyond Virtual Welcome Week, new Badgers will continue to be supported throughout their first year through the BU4U program, which is a series of online orientation experiences that provides students with personalized support.

“We understand how important Welcome Week is to our incoming students and we know they will enjoy the virtual experiences designed for them this year,” said Tanya Bradley, Manager, Student Engagement. “We want students to know that we are here to support them throughout the totality of their online orientation experiences, and this extends beyond Welcome Week through the BU4U program. Through BU4U, students will be provided with the exceptional Brock experience that they are accustomed to.”

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