The Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group is hoping an alternative orientation week will give socially conscious students a way to connect with the Halifax community, not just a way to party.
Or as co-organizer Sebastien Labelle explains, Alt 101 will educate, not intoxicate.
“The impetus for it was to respond to interests of new and returning students that weren’t being met by the typical frosh or orientation series of events organized by various campuses here in Halifax,” Labelle said by phone yesterday.
He said the month-long orientation is meant to compliment regular frosh activities with a more in depth look at the off-campus side of the city.
“Generally, frosh activities are centred around the campus community and the student body, which is great, but Alt 101 wants to try and build more bridges between campus and the community at large.”
Labelle said Alt 101 will meet a demand for events that cater to “groups that represent minorities in Halifax or different identities,” which aren’t covered by typical campus frosh events. It should also give Halifax newbies a chance to get involved in various grassroots movements.
"Most activities have a critical education aspect to it and an engagement aspect – a way for students to get engaged in political or social or environmental issues within the community,” Labelle said. “That’s not to say that all activities aren’t generally parties or fun-centred, but looking to go beyond that. Obviously Alt 101 activities look to be fun as well.”
In its fourth year, the alternative orientation offers a bike tour of Halifax community gardens, a vegan baking how-to workshop, media training with campus radio station CKDU, a tenancy rights workshop, several feminist and queer-themed educational workshops and more.
Labelle said these events should help integrate students into the Halifax community, instead of confining them to campus.