A treasure hunt for about 150 people, dead pigeons and over 200 brand new students… Welcome Week 2017 was eventful to say the least. Here are my reflections on Welcome, for the first time through a staff member’s eyes rather than a student’s.
For those of you who have not met me yet, I am the new Student Engagement Intern in the LiFTS Department. I am also a LiFTS alumna, as I graduated with my BA in English Literature this summer. I started in the beginning of September, and my first month in the department has been all about Welcome Week. More than a month of hard work from everyone in the department’s admin team culminated in our Departmental Induction Day on Tuesday 3 October.
We started the day in LTB6, where undergraduate and postgraduate students alike were welcomed by the admin team and 9 of our friendly peer mentors. Each student was provided with a name tag and a welcome pack, and by the time our Head of Department, Liz Kuti, started speaking, over 200 brand new students were seated in the lecture theatre. Liz Kuti welcomed the students to the department, and then it was my turn to take the stage. I was a bit nervous to be speaking in front of all the new students, but it all went fairly smoothly, except for some fiddling with the microphone.
Peer mentors Ela, Phoebe, Julija and Chelsea, as well as me, welcoming the new students.
After the initial talk, we did our best to shepherd all the students along to the Tony Rich Teaching Centre. Here, the students were guided to rooms were they met their personal tutors. After a friendly chat, and in some cases a walk, with their tutors, the undergraduate students were gathered for the start of our treasure hunt. We had 12 large teams running (or walking quite leisurely, depending on their competitiveness) around campus solving clues and answering questions. In the end, Team 7 was crowned the winning team. There was some grumbling from Antonio in the general office about corruption, and he longingly watched the winning team eat the chocolate that should rightfully have been his (according to him).
The winning treasure hunt team, led by peer mentor Julija.
After the treasure hunt the students were chatting and making friends over lunch, although some were shaken by an incident that was witnessed by several of the treasure hunt teams. The incident in question involved a pigeon flying straight into the glass wall between the two doors to the Tony Rich Teaching Centre. The pigeon lay on the ground for a while, convulsing, before it died. It was bizarre and sad to watch, but later in the day the pigeon was rightfully honoured in the team name of the quiz team “Dead Pigeons”, whose team name was Rachele’s favourite.
The quiz took place after the Head of Department address, and I might have made it a little bit tricky… I will admit the quiz was quite hard, but I still think the students had fun and enjoyed using their brain for a bit at the end of a long day. “Les Quizerables” (my favourite team name) won the quiz, but most of the new students seemed to leave the room looking pleased and chatting with their new friends.
“Les Quizerables”, the winning quiz team.
At the end of the day, I and everyone else involved in the planning of our Induction Day breathed a huge sigh of relief that no major disasters had taken place. Personally, I’d been having nightmares about the induction day for the last week, but thankfully none of my nightmare scenarios came true.
I enjoyed meeting all the new students immensely, and I hope that they felt that the Induction Day was a smooth and welcoming start to their time at Essex.
Welcome to the family!