Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

The start of something special – StFX welcomes Class of 2021

September 2nd, 2017
O-Crew welcomes members of the Class of 2021

It’s 7:30 a.m. and already it feels like the start of something special.

“Are you excited?” an upper-class student greets two first year students as they make their way into StFX’s Keating Centre for Welcome Day 2017, a day designed to introduce students to StFX, make them feel at home and provide the information they need for their time at university.

Inside the Keating Centre, StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald personally greets the incoming class as students and their families move through registration and into a Student Services Showcase that includes information booths from departments across campus, food stations, and the StFX photo booth.

As the nearly 1,000 members of the StFX Class of 2021 and their families arrive onto campus for the first time, the exuberant, pink shirt clad student ambassadors of the O-Crew are there to meet them, singing, dancing, and helping ease first year jitters.

Wel-come home! Wel-come home!’ they cheer.

“Oh, my gosh, is that frosh,” the dancing, colourful students chant as members of the first-year class arrive to check into residence. “What room are you, let’s get you settled.”

Along with moving into residence, Welcome Day includes Parent Orientation sessions, a formal President’s Welcome and faculty and staff on hand to chat and answer questions.

ACADEMCIALLY FOCUSED, SOCIALLY ENGAGED

In his welcoming remarks, Dr. MacDonald encouraged students to be academically focused and socially engaged.

“Think about your time here at StFX and what you’re about to embark on,” he said as he delivered two key messages to students, parents and family.

Dr. MacDonald says he looks for two things in students that come to StFX. The first is that they’re academically focused—“that you think of yourself as a university student, someone who is going to embrace all aspects from an intellectual point of view”—and to think more deeply about what it is they want to learn at an institution like StFX.  

“The second part is to be socially engaged in life,” he said as he advised students to be engaged in community, to join a society, get involved in student life, perhaps join Service Learning or Shinerama or O-Crew.

“This is a place that believes young people can make a difference in the world.

“I welcome you to this very, very special place, StFX and I welcome you to the Xaverian community.”

ESSENCE OF STFX

“We will give you the tools to make a difference in the world,” StFX Academic Vice-President & Provost Dr. Kevin Wamsley told students as he remarked that part of the essence of StFX is its outstanding faculty and staff and unique community.

He also reassured parents that StFX cares about their sons and daughters. “We want to ensure they have the best university experience possible.

“Classes start soon. We are ready for you,” he said.

Students’ Union president Annie Sirois also encouraged students to become involved, to take the opportunity they have at StFX to get out of their comfort zone, to be ambitious, to seize opportunities and give opportunities to others.

It’s not always going to be easy,

“You’re going to have tough nights and tough mornings, but that doesn’t mean you won’t grow,” she told students.

StFX Head of Student Services and Vice-President of Finance and Administration Andrew Beckett spoke about the StFX student experience, and about the Xaverian Commitment – a commitment students make to themselves in the pursuit of excellence.

It’s a commitment to hold yourself responsible for your personal growth, but do it yourself doesn’t mean do it alone, he said. “There are tremendous supports here to help you,” he noted. “We have tremendous, passionate, dedicated faculty and staff. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We want you to be successful.

“You made a great choice to be here. Embrace this opportunity and make it your own. Welcome to StFX.”

Students’ Union executive member, vice-president academic, Patrick Panet-Raymond hosted the formal ceremony.   

FEEL WELCOME

Welcome Day has been great, says Zach Murray of St. John’s, NL, a first-year music student.

“It’s been cool. It’s way more extravagant than I thought, the whole set-up, with all the returning students welcoming you. It feels very much like you’re welcome. There’s no pressure. It’s very cool,” he says.

It’s a sentiment echoed by his mom, Ann Murray. “It’s been awesome,” she says, offering a parent perspective. “Everyone is so happy and friendly and it’s not confusing at all.”

First year social justice colloquium student Calisha Smith of Richmond Hill, ON says she came to StFX for the small class sizes and the campus feel. She says it’s a little intimidating to start university, but the day has been good and she appreciates the warm welcome. “I like that there’s people everywhere talking. It’s so friendly.”

“It’s very welcoming and organized,” her mom Kelly Smith agrees. “There are so many people here to help. It’s not really as daunting as I thought it would be.”

That help is something that Bailey Randall, an aquatic resources and sociology student from Antigonish, NS, likes. “It’s great to have people here to guide you,” she says. “It’s different here than high school and it’s nice to have the amount of people here to help.”

“People are very welcoming. If you look lost, they just ask if they can help you,” adds Kendra Vigneault of Antigonish, NS, who starts a business degree. 

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