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Described as incredibly fulfilling: Volunteers and organizers discuss Welcome Week.

Engaging with new acquaintances, exploring the campus, and embracing a fresh chapter in life all kick off with Welcome Week, a dynamic period filled with diverse activities tailored for student enjoyment, marking the commencement of the academic year.
From September 1st to September 14th, both fresh faces and returning students enthusiastically participated in a myriad of meticulously planned events orchestrated by Grace Finlay, the Welcome Week Chair at St. Thomas University, alongside a dedicated team of volunteers.
“Building connections within your program and among your peers is paramount,” remarked Finlay. “Sharing similar experiences fosters a sense of camaraderie and support during this transitional period.”
Preparations for Welcome Week commence as early as May, led by the Transitions Advisory Committee, comprising Finlay, Talia Coderre, and Brett McCavour. This committee collaborates on event ideation, secures sponsorships, and allocates budgets to ensure the success of these activities.

“We are focused on ensuring a smooth and comfortable transition,” he explained. “Starting university can be daunting, but it’s also a time filled with excitement and possibilities.”
Finlay outlined the activities into three main categories: intellectual, wellness, and social. Some events aim to familiarize students with essential resources, while others encourage peer interaction.
“Our goal was to encourage bonding through these events,” she remarked. “For me, that’s a measure of success.”
She emphasized how the enthusiasm of volunteers and new students adds vibrancy and uniqueness to each event.
Grace Cunningham, a second-year student, volunteered for Welcome Week and sometimes found it challenging to convey her genuine enthusiasm for STU during the events.
“I’m not just enthusiastic because I’m a volunteer; I genuinely love STU!” she exclaimed. “Welcome Week reignited my excitement for STU because the campus comes alive with people.”
Among the various events throughout the week, the Cheer Off event was a standout moment. Happening early in the week when many students were still adjusting, by the end of the night, attitudes had shifted.
“It’s incredibly rewarding to turn nervous energy into excitement,” Coderre reflected. “Seeing everyone cheering for each other and supporting teams, regardless of the outcome, was heartening.”
With this year’s events successfully wrapped up, attention now turns to the future, for both students and organizers. Planning for next year is already underway.
“I feel incredibly lucky to continue this work,” said Finlay. “It’s deeply fulfilling, and I’m eagerly looking forward to next year!”

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