Fun and games for first-year students at Algonquin College 0
Paul Lavergne (centre), an environmental technician student, makes his way through a hula hoop during one of the activities at the Algonquin College orientation as office administration student Celiena Bisson and environmental technician student Heather Miller look on.
Thursday morning was all about fun and games, with some team building thrown in for good measure for the first-year students at Algonquin College in the Ottawa Valley.
About 250 first-year students gathered at the Pembroke waterfront yesterday for the annual fall games day which serves as an orientation event meant to bring students from different programs together and introduce them to a range of services available at the school.
Among the games the teams took part in were the hula hoop game, in which students arranged themselves in a circle holding hands and had to manoeuvre hula hoops from person to person without letting go. The activity was good for some laughs as people contorted themselves into some interesting positions to get through the hoops, at times more than one arriving in a spot at the same time.
Paul Lavergne of Kemptville, Ont. is enrolled in the new environmental technician program, said the orientation event was a great way to meet people outside his program and he felt it was an important part of the start of the school year.
His teammate Celiena Bisson of Chalk River taking office administration. She’s met a lot of new people since classes began and this event also introduced her to different people and services available to students at the college.
“Meeting people here makes it easier to walk down the hall because you aren’t seeing a million faces you don’t know,” she said.
Another event was an obstacle course set up by members of the military. It included a wooden structure students had to climb up one side of and down the other, a tunnel they had to crawl through and a tire obstacle.
Sam Graham of Beachburg, who graduated from Jeanne-Lajoie in June, is take general arts and sciences this year. He called the orientation event a mini-frosh week jammed into a couple of hours. He was excited to meet people outside his program.
With the theme of teamwork being stressed throughout the event, there was no better example than when one of Mr. Graham’s teammates pushed his wheelchair to the other end of the tunnel so he would have it when he emerged, others that helped him get back into his chair, the two that carried him through the tire obstacle and when one teammate held his chair while he did the sand bag pull.
“I think it’s pretty awesome that they all want to make sure I am included,” he said.
A new station this year was called the Tweet Face photo challenge, which encouraged teams to take pictures in various locations around the waterfront, the like the college on Facebook and Twitter so they could be tagged in the photos.
Kim Drake, co-chairwoman of the business department, said the station was a big hit. In today’s age of social media, this was another way to get students connected.
Murray Kyte, chairman of the business, technology and outdoor training department for Algonquin College in the Ottawa Valley, called the event a wonderful success, thanks to the weather and the fact the new campus was off in the distance.
Organizers purposefully put students in diverse groups with people from different programs to bring them out of their comfort zone. With more than 40 per cent of students enrolled at the college coming from outside of Renfrew County the orientation allows the students to make connections with other students as well as support staff.
One of the stations called the Poker Run had the students locate support staff, including the counsellor and nurse, around the field and learn what they do at the college so can recall that information if they need help down the road, Mr. Kyte explained.
Tina Peplinskie is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist