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Samantha Garvey, Roving Editor Ω

Students check out various tables and information booths during the Back-to-School Barbecue at Campus Commons. – Photo by Samantha Garvey

Orientation Day and the Back-to-School Barbecue were two informative and entertaining events for TRU students last week.

The Centre for Student Engagement and Learning Innovations, TRU’s newest department was responsible for Tuesday’s orientation presentation at the Tournament Capital Centre (TCC) and the resource fair at TRU’s Campus Commons.

“This was the most successful orientation ever,” said Sukh Heer Matonovich, manager of student engagement and retention. Based on the number of t-shirts given away at TCC, Heer Matonovich estimated 1,340 new students attended orientation while approximately 1,000 visited the resource fair.

Heer Matonovich said the goals of the centre are to encourage interaction between students and faculty. This is based off of research by the National Survey of Student Engagement, whose findings suggested students wanted more engagement with their institutions.

Another challenge the new division attempted to tackle was the information and support staff are able to provide to students, ensuring information is up-to-date and consistent across all TRU staff.

Tents dot the Campus Commons during the Back-to-School Barbecue. -Photo by Samantha Garvey

The day’s barbecue saw 140 kilograms of meat given away in hot dog and hamburger buns, including vegetarian patties.

After a successful Orientation Day on Tuesday, tables were erected again Friday for the Back-to-School Barbecue hosted by Thompson Rivers University Student Union (TRUSU). Kristopher Ruston and Paul Filek provided the entertainment on-stage at Campus Commons.

There were approximately 120 groups and organizations tabling to new and returning students, which TRUSU president Dustin McIntyre estimated to be around 4,000.

“The first week was well coordinated,” Heer Matonovich said, adding that the two events as well as the upcoming Clubs Day work well together to reach out to new students.

This year’s orientation was different from previous years in that the aboriginal and international student orientations were not separate.