Students to make their mark with diverse cultural and social events

This year’s 101 Week promises to be a celebration that will offer a chance for all students to “make their mark.”  

The week will feature perennial favourites such as Camp Fortune and FEDStock, this year being headlined by American hip-hop artist French Montana, along with a slew of other events such as a bike rave, club nights, and cultural celebrations.

“We are trying to offer students an unforgettable experience but also a positive experience that’s productive and going to set up the tone,” said Hadi Wess, president of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO). That line of thinking informed their choice to rename Frosh Week to 101 Week. “We believe that there is more of an educational value to the week than just running around partying and drinking.”

Of course, the stakes are high. “I tend to believe if you have a wonderful 101 Week you tend to have a wonderful academic journey or staying on campus because it gets a lot of students engaged and wanting to do more,” Wess said. “It’s a week that’s designed to create opportunities for students.”

The week will also be packed with a variety of inclusive events representing the diverse experiences of the campus population. Events are being hosted by the U of O Muslim Students Association, Indigenous student groups, and there will also be a drag show, Be Present to Consent talks, and a social justice fair.

As for FEDStock, the concert that opens 101 Week, finding a bigger and better name every year can often become a challenge. But with French Montana, the SFUO feels they have secured a show that’s sure to be a crowdpleaser.

“We’re trying to move forward in a way where we are keeping the traditions but we’re also bringing something unique,” Wess said, “It’s unforgettable and it’s going to leave a mark, absolutely.”

The SFUO had a lot of work organizing the over 20 events making this 101 Week memorable. Staff and execs have secured partnerships and sponsors, along with dealing with all the logistics such as licensing, medical emergency response, equity consultations, dealing with protective services, and securing headliners and speakers.

Although fun is a priority, health and safety come first. Bylaw 10 is the SFUO policy that governs 101 Week, and Wess has made sure to clear up discrepancies and prevent any loopholes to make 101 Week as safe as possible for everyone. For example, they have added a portion to their guide training on how to deal with opioid overdose.

“This is a week that’s supposed to be fun, it’s supposed to be a good experience, but also we’re supposed to respect each other, respect our differences, appreciate our difference actually, make sure that we’re not harming each other,” Wess said.

Most importantly, Wess advises incoming students and guides to put safety first. “Remember that education is really important when it comes to fun as well, that we can all have different types of fun, and we can all have fun that does not harm others.”