Helping first-year students find their way around campus, forge new friendships and settle into university life are the goals as the University of Guelph gets set to host Orientation Week 2023

O-Week kicks off Friday, Sept. 1 and runs to Sunday, Sept. 10, with hundreds of fun and informative events planned for the nearly 5,000 new students who will arrive on campus. 

That number includes more than 4,000 first-year and upper-year students the University has accommodated in residence this year, as well as several hundred more students who will live off campus.  

“O-Week is such an important week because it sets the foundation for students’ successful transition into University,” says Rosanna Beattie, coordinator of orientation programs in Student Experience.

“We want to give them the tips and resources they will need in their first year, while helping them feel safe, welcomed and ready to begin the new year.” 

O-Week orientation activities are intended to help students familiarize themselves with the campus as well as their chosen faculty and programs.  It’s also filled with several social activities to help student meet new people and learn about student clubs and organizations. 

Some of the events include: 

Those preferring a quieter welcome might choose to Take a Walk through the Arboretum with the Guelph chapter of the mental health support group The event will introduce participants to campus walking trails and greenery and offer simple ways to prioritize their mental health and well-being. 

O-Week made to make everyone feel welcome

Students stop to speak to Orientation Volunteers under a large red tent with the words 'I am a Gryphon'
Students stop to speak to Orientation Volunteers at a Wayfinding Station on campus during O-Week

In all, more than 240 events are planned, most of them run completely by volunteers from student clubs, residence dorms and academic departments. 

“There are so many events planned, no one could possibly do them all, so students are advised to decide which ones matter to them most and set themselves a schedule,” says Beattie. 

Students can learn more about events by downloading the “I Am A Gryphon” app and register at the GryphLife webpage

Many students began their orientation over the summer by taking part in START U of G campus tours, welcome barbecues, study skills workshops or online events to learn about jobs on campus. 

A key aim of O-Week is to make everyone feel welcome. Special events are available for for transfer students who are new to Guelph; others are for mature students who are new to university life, and still more are targeted to international students who are new to Canada. 

Safety is another key message, and to that aim, students have been informed of all campus safety measures in place and are encouraged to download the SafeGryphon app, which will help them to stay connected to emergency alerts, access campus maps, or schedule a SafeWalk across campus.