For the first time in the history of the University of Saskatchewan and as an effort to continue their increased engagement with the campus community, the U of S Students’ Union is hosting Winter Welcome Week for new and returning students alike.
On Jan. 4–7, the USSU will be celebrating the first week back at school by providing a variety of activities and events for students to take part in while easing into the winter term.
Gabe Senecal, vice-president academic for the USSU, included Winter Welcome Week in his election platform in March 2015. Since then, he has been working alongside Kehan Fu, vice-president student affairs, to make the concept a reality.
“I wanted to include something that was a little bit different than what might be considered part of the portfolio for the vice-president academic. I think I bring more to a vice-president academic position than just exactly the academic grievances and university issues that I do deal with. I want to bring a collaborative approach,” Senecal said.
Considering that the final exam period for the U of S did not officially conclude until Dec. 23, with the potential for several year-long courses assigning deadlines immediately following the holiday season, many students may be feeling like they did not get much of a break.
The USSU aims to counteract this potentially negative outlook, as well as the winter blues some people experience during the shorter days and colder months, by comforting students with free coffee, various games and, as their social media promotions claim, “fun for the sake of fun.”
“Obviously it’s not going to be like [fall] Welcome Week; we can’t really do beer gardens inside, it’s a different vibe than September. A lot of the focus will be on events we can provide at night, like at Louis’ Pub for students,” Fu said.
Winter Welcome Week events will not only include coffee and other comforting freebies, but the Louis’ House Party returned on Jan. 5, encouraging students to wear all purple and celebrate throughout both levels of Louis’ Pub and Louis’ Loft. There will also be a lip-sync battle at Louis’ Pub on Jan. 6 hosted by the USSU and the Visual Arts Students’ Union.
However, one of the notable additions to this term’s events is the trivia night on Jan. 7, which will be hosted in conjunction with the Indigenous Students’ Council.
“This is interesting because I think a partnership between the Indigenous students with the USSU is definitely building this year. The purpose of the trivia night is to provide a fun, competitive and accessible way to give people a chance to learn more about Indigenous aspects of various things through participating in trivia,” Fu said.
While the evening events will provide excitement for some, Senecal has arranged a kaiser tournament for Jan. 6 at 2 p.m. at Louis’ Pub in an effort to offer up an alternative for those students who are looking for a change of pace.
“It’s really a Saskatchewan card game, it kind of plays a little bit like Hearts but it’s kind of a classic game that people have played growing up with their families,” Senecal said. “It’s played in partners so you can bring a partner or you can bring three of you if you guys want to sub out. There aren’t really too many rules, it’s more a matter of getting people to hang out and just have some fun.”
The USSU is also transforming the Place Riel North Concourse into an arcade, which will include board games, active games and refreshments for those students waiting in the long line-ups for their U-Pass.
While Winter Welcome Week will only last until Jan. 7, Senecal reminds students that the fun does not have to end as the term moves forward.
“Have some fun and just enjoy the time of year. Even though it could be sad or a little bit annoying to be back in some ways, it is still kind of exciting to have the new semester under way and another semester complete and to be back on campus with 17,000 other undergraduates that are as excited to be here as you should be.”