Photo Credit: Asad Jalib by Rafay Rehan.

Through multiple online avenues first-year students will have an enriching and engaging first-year of university. 

Though the fall semester will primarily be delivered online, the Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU) hopes to maintain a high level of student engagement through online events and programming. 

BUSU is Brock University’s student government body that represents undergraduate students. Similarly to a high school student government, BUSU’s main purpose is to represent and advocate for students. The Union provides a variety of programs, opportunities and services with a desire to create an atmosphere and culture of acceptance, inclusion and tolerance at Brock.

Ordinarily, BUSU hosts 10-12 events each month and the current plan is to continue this throughout the upcoming year, whether on or offline. While a lot of this programming is centred around themes of acceptance and wellbeing, BUSU also hosts events that are designed for students to find friends and have fun.

“We know extra-curricular [activities] are a great way to meet new people, explore interests and have fun. We are committed to providing as many [of those] opportunities as possible,” said Jordan Hallawell, Senior Manager of Marketing and Communications at BUSU. “From an events perspective, BUSU will continue to deliver [approximately] two events per week on average, along with [our] classic themed weeks.”

For a majority of Brock students, the fall semester will take place virtually. This not only influences the way academics will be handled but also how events will take place. Programming that typically was hosted in person will now have to be revised to work in a completely online environment. The BUSU team has been planning well in advance to ensure that these events are not only held to the same standard as they have been in the past, but they remain as interactive and engaging as possible.

“Given that all events for the fall semester will be virtual, BUSU has partnered with BrockTV to [provide] live video of these events [to] bring [them] to the next level and ensure they are as interactive as possible,” said Hallawell.

Hallawell is confident that students will see diversity in events being held by BUSU. Despite the events being presented in a new format, students can expect most programming that was present and well-received in prior years to make a comeback in the upcoming school year.

“While we can’t highlight every planned event, we do want students to know they can expect to see trivia nights, bingo events, virtual game shows and much more,” said Hallawell.

 Though BUSU is hosting the events, Hallawell and the union executive body is open to receiving students’ input to make the coming semester memorable. Members of the Brock community who have suggestions to offer can feel free to contact the students’ union.

BUSU has also launched a new initiative for Brock students in June 2020 called COVID Conversations. During these conversations, members of the BUSU executive team provide general updates and answer a wide array of questions. These conversations are held bi-weekly on Thursdays at 2 p.m. on the BUSU YouTube page at youtube.com/user/brockbusu. Students who desire to ask questions about the upcoming school year can do so by submitting their questions to be answered on the show via the BUSU website.

To stay on top of all events happening at Brock, ExperienceBU is a must. The holy grail of involvement at Brock is called ExperienceBU. ExperienceBU is your gateway to anything that is going on at Brock. You can register for events, join clubs, find workshops and much more. ExperienceBU is an integral resource to ensure you get the most out of your university experience. 

Launched for the incoming class of 2020, BU4U is a set of virtual orientation programs that will foster community and engagement among Badgers. BU4U offers information on a variety of topics at Brock, like campus safety, how to get involved and how to stay engaged throughout first year. BU4U includes the following orientation programs: BU101, Engagement Communities, Virtual Welcome Week, and the First Year Experience. 

BU101 is an online, non-credit course accessible via Sakai to prepare you for your online courses and academic workload. This free course runs asynchronously to build academic skills such as note-taking, working with technology, and time management. This is a great way to prepare for the upcoming year and familiarize yourself with Sakai. Students have received a link via their Brock email to access BU101.

Engagement Communities are another program for incoming students to  enrich their first-year experience. Engagement Communities will connect students with other students in your faculty and program. Conversations, activities, and events will be led by a Peer Mentor, who will also help first-year students make friends, find opportunities, get you involved and highlight upcoming events. 

This year’s Welcome Week events will take place the week of Labour Day (September 7) and includes a full schedule of events and programming to welcome first-year students. This year, Welcome Week will provide students with online opportunities to meet friends and learn about Brock.

Welcome Week is the First Year Experience (FYE) Program. FYE is a program to help you get involved outside the classroom through engagement in a variety of themed online experiences that will occur over the first six weeks of the Fall 2020 term. 

Brock has plenty of safeguards to ensure every new Badger feels welcomed in the upcoming school year. BUSU, BU4U and ExperienceBU are all ways to make sure that first-year students excel socially and academically at Brock. 

For more information about BUSU and the work the union does, interested individuals can visit brockbusu.ca. Students with virtual event ideas are encouraged to connect with BUSU Vice-president of Student Services, Raadhiyah Zowmi, via email at [email protected] Students can also engage with both BUSU and The Brock Press on social media for the latest information on upcoming events @brockbusu and @thebrockpress respectively. BU4U can be accessed at https://brocku.ca/fall/bu4u/ and [email protected] ExperienceBU is available via https://brocku.ca/experiencebu/