The new academic year marks an exciting time on campus with the start of several new initiatives – from new programs to a new and improved orientation.
“Although there’s a lot going on here in the summer, when the students come back in September it’s like a huge shot of adrenaline into the campus,” says Peter Ricketts, provost and vice-president (Academic). “The beginning of term is a very exciting time and it creates a tremendous atmosphere on campus.”
One of the biggest changes at Carleton is the annual orientation which, for the first time, is being jointly run by the Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA), the Rideau River Residence Association (RRRA) and the university administration.
The participation rate for this annual tradition has surpassed last year, with over 2,300 students expected to sign up. This year’s orientation will mix traditional activities with new ones, aimed at helping students make a smooth transition to university academic life.
The new Expo Carleton event will showcase more than 100 of Carleton’s clubs and services as multicultural performances take place, including Aboriginal drumming, to entertain students. For the first time, the Sock ‘n’ Buskin theatre group will perform Survival U, a comical look at potential challenges students may face during their transition to campus life.
“The new events are representative of the different areas we want students to learn about,” says Jeremy Brzozowski, the First-Year Experience program co-ordinator. “We want them to walk away from orientation being as socially, academically and personally ready for university as possible.”
Students will also take part in a New Student Convocation, featuring a welcome from President Roseann O’Reilly Runte and an inspirational talk from Elia Saikely, the most recent Canadian to climb Mount Everest. Academic Orientation Day will conclude with degree orientations, faculty barbecues and academic workshops that cover topics such as time management and academic integrity.
Shinerama, the annual cystic fibrosis fundraiser held on and off campuses across Canada, will be expanded this year in hopes of reaching a $40,000 fundraising goal, up $10,000 from last year. In addition to Shine Day and the Shine Car Wash, this year members of the campus community have the opportunity to buy Shineravens from volunteers on campus for a minimum donation of $1.
“The Shinerama initiative is so important because we’re always looking for ways to provide Carleton students with the opportunity to give back,” says Brzozowski. “It’s a way to encourage them to become good citizens of their potential new community.”
The Aboriginal Enriched Support Program (AESP) is hosting its own orientation week for the first time this year. Between 20 and 25 students will start in the program in 2010. It gives support to Aboriginal students during their first year of study. During orientation, students will participate in campus tours, a talking circle with an Elder, lunches in the Aboriginal lounge; and academic workshops that focus on writing and research skills, how to stay motivated and the responsibilities of being a student.
“The goal is that even before classes start, the students will know who their instructors are, get to know each other and feel comfortable.” says Perryhan Moustafa, co-ordinator of the AESP.
A new Bachelor of Science honours program in nanoscience; a stream in mobile and social networking applications in computer science; and a new concentration in natural resources, environment and economy in the Bachelor of Arts honours program in economics, are all being introduced this year at Carleton.
There are four new graduate programs being launched this fall too – a master’s of Infrastructure Protection and International Security; a master’s of Cognitive Science; an international development concentration in the MBA program and master’s programs in Sustainable Energy.
“This year we have the added pleasure of welcoming the first cohort of students to four innovative new master’s programs,” says John Shepherd, dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs. “All these programs are built on a collaborative model, drawing on the strengths of multiple disciplines to provide a unique outlook on real-world problems.”
Carleton also continues to be a leader with “green” initiatives on campus.
“Carleton has a great blend of sustainability in the physical campus and in the educational programs,” says sustainability officer Murdo Murchison. “We’re incredibly blessed on this campus with an amazingly green space. Everyone from undergraduate students to faculty can get involved in continuing that.”
Sustainability at Carleton: http://www2.carleton.ca/fmp/sustainability/about/
Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs: http://www2.carleton.ca/fgpa/
Undergraduate information: http://www2.carleton.ca/admissions/
Aboriginal Enriched Supported Program: http://www2.carleton.ca/aesp/