Image: A group of students join in on a campus tour in July as part of the Welcome Squad's summer 2022 programming.
Welcome Squad connects students to each other and the city
OCAD U’s Welcome Squad is helping new and returning students get to know each other and the hottest spots in Toronto.
Summer programming began on July 10 and includes an exciting list of field trips, campus tours, scavenger hunts, movies, games as well as arts and crafts. This summer’s schedule kicked off with a screening of iconic New York-based drag performance documentary Paris is Burning, in Christie Pitt’s Park.
Since then, activities have included a visit to the Bata Shoe Museum, campus tours, a tie-dye party in Butterfield Park and a trip to Centre Island. Most recently participants enjoyed a walk through the city’s tranquil and very Instagram-worthy indoor botanical atrium Allan Gardens and a visit to High Park Zoo. Next week students can look forward to an afternoon at the Art Gallery of Ontario, a picnic in Grange Park and a board game social.
Coordinated by the Campus Life office, the Welcome Squad was initiated in July 2021 and is designed to support students' transition into life at OCAD U by fostering new relationships, connections with peers as well as a familiarity with the campus and the city. Participation is open to new and current students who are looking for opportunities to connect, network and socialize.
“My role with the Squad is to host events on campus. It's my responsibility (and pleasure!) to bring new and current students together so they can foster friendships and connections that'll help them through their time at school. Animation is my craft and future career aspiration — animating the campus is where I start,” says returning Peer Mentor Sara Khalil-Bayley, who is majoring in Experimental Animation.
All events are free though an RSVP is required. To register for all Welcome Squad activities visit the OCAD U Campus Life linktree, online.
“Our programs help students get familiar with the layout of the school, as well as the services and facilities that OCAD U offers. Just as importantly, it enables them to socialize with the students in their year that they'll be spending most of their time with, as well as upper years they can turn to for help,” Khalil-Bayley continues.
“In addition, they get to make friends with students outside of their program, which broadens their networking opportunities.”
Squad leaders include current international and domestic Peer Mentors, who are involved in activities and events on or near campus throughout the year.
Opportunities to engage in life on campus in person are increasing. Students can check out @ocaducampuslife on Instagram to sign up for in-person drawing sessions, nature walks, study groups, storyboarding, cartoon marathons and more.