Ryerson held its first- annual orientation concert and barbecue for continuing education and part-time students last Thursday night.
Teaming up with the Chang School of Continuing Education, the event was hosted by CESAR, Ryerson’s student union that represents continuing, part-time and distance education students.
Munching on hamburgers, pizza and coleslaw, students enjoyed having their caricatures drawn by artists while listening to music provided by Toronto-based reggae band Friendlyness and the Human Rights.
Spread along Gould St. were several booths providing students with information about on-campus services such as RyeAccess and the Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Services. Elections Ontario was also present to register students for the upcoming election and to teach them how to vote.
Although this was the first orientation barbecue hosted for Chang school students, Andrea Barbera says CESAR has hosted smaller orientation events in the past such as wine and cheese jazz nights.
Barbera, who is the programming and outreach coordinator of CESAR, says the orientation was organized to provide something for students who aren’t on campus every day.
Noting how full-time students get a Week of Welcome every year, she said events as such aren’t always accessible for Chang school students because they start school a week later.
“We find that a lot of the continuing education and part-time degree students have a very isolating experience,” Barbera said.
“We wanted to provide some type of community type of event to bring them together, bring their instructors together to try and build a more inclusive community.”
Dominic Wong, president of CESAR, said the point of this event was to get students interested in getting involved in the school community.
A Chang school student himself, Wong, who is studying non-profit management, felt lost and confused when he started at Ryerson.
“You just get thrown in there. I didn’t know what was going on,” he said. “Fortunately, someone from CESAR came in and I got involved.”
As for part-time student Farnaz Alijamshid, she attended the orientation event because she felt overwhelmed when she first entered the school.
Having just immigrated to Canada four months ago from Iran, the control project management student wanted to learn more of the things Ryerson has to offer.
“I came because I don’t have enough information and don’t know how to find information about Ryerson’s communities and events,” she said.
Having noticed that part-time and distance education students face difficulties in feeling a part of the school’s community, Ray Chang, chancellor of Ryerson University and naming benefactor of the Chang School, thought the event was a good way to help them feel more included.
“I think this is a great way for students to get together and meet each other,” he said. “I feel it is very important for them to feel part of Ryerson because they definitely are.”