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photo courtesy OPIRG

Alt 101 Week offers

diverse events for students

VEGAN BREAKFASTS, SEX workshops, and a night of political comedy are just a few of the events featured during the Ontario Public Interest Research Group’s (OPIRG) Alternative 101 Week. A radically different approach to the popular 101 Weeks organized by the U of O’s academic departments, this week-long series of dry, accessible, queer-positive, and green events provides new students with a unique introduction to campus.

“There are a lot of new students who are looking for a lot more than the other 101 Weeks provide. Who we are is about more than just what faculty we are in, so for students who want something different—whether it be a more inclusive environment [or] to plug into communities that are shaping their campus and making it a better, more just place—Alt 101 is for them,” explained fourth-year political science student and Alt 101 coordinator Tasha Peters.

Inspired by other PIRGs across the country, the U of O’s Alt 101 was created in 2005 as a response to the mainstream 101 Week events—events that aren’t always representative of all incoming students. According to its website, “Alternative 101 is a radically different and politically progressive option for students who are either not part of the mainstream or are simply looking for something different.”

“Alt 101 is for students who are interested in promoting social and environmental justice and [in] becoming part of a community of people for whom this is especially important,” said Peters. “With Alt 101, students get to see another side of campus and discover a community that is dedicated to taking action to create a campus, city, and world that is just for all.”

Alt 101 will boast a variety of events this year, kicking off each day with a  vegan pancake breakfast provided by the People’s Republic of Delicious and the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) Food Bank. A number of workshops will be held throughout the week, including one on activism led by rogue Senate page Brigette DePape and three on consent, sexual health, and sex toys. The week’s main events feature political comedian Hari Kondabolu, a night of slam poetry and sundaes, and a dance party complete with a DJ and a drag show.

“We will also be attending some of the general SFUO events, such as the ACTION Carnival, the Eid dinner, and Fedstock, so Alt 101-ers can join up with people in other 101 Weeks as well,” added Peters.

Any student looking for an unorthodox introduction to the U of O should check out what Alt 101 has to offer this year.

“I know so many students who spend much of first year—and sometimes their whole degree—looking for a place where they fit in and can work on things they are passionate about,” she said, noting Alt 101 helps connect students who are passionate about the same causes on their first day on campus.

“If you are interested in learning how to cook vegan food, working toward ending gendered violence, exploring the wilderness, working to make education accessible to everyone, discovering the slam poetry scene in Ottawa, or shutting down the tar sands, Alt 101 will help you get there!”

Alt 101 Week kits can be purchased online or on Sept. 3–4 in front of the Unicentre. For more information, check out

 —Mercedes Mueller