How the KSA can welcome new and returning students

Some ways the Kwantlen Student Association can help students back to class

The KSA's Peer Support Program participated in Welcome Week in 2020. (file photo)

The KSA’s Peer Support Program participated in Welcome Week in 2020. (file photo)

Each fall and spring semester at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, the Kwantlen Student Association hosts “Welcome Week” an event usually filled with activities at every campus. This includes information booths on some programs in partnership with the KSA, such as ActiveKSA  and the MultiPass program, games to play with other KPU students such as giant chess and giant Jenga, and free food for both students and faculty to enjoy.

Or at least that’s what the event was like before the pandemic arrived and changed how we experience things in life. 

During this time, people have had to get creative on organizing and hosting events, including the KSA. Going back to this year’s summer semester, the KSA held an online Welcome Week of sorts for Richmond, Surrey, and Langley.

Some of what was offered then included the Sustainable KSA providing shopping tips to be more eco-friendly and visiting local farmer’s markets, Active KSA mentioning locations to check out for the previously mentioned campuses, sleep tips from Peer Support, the KSA Multipass and the benefits that come with it, the KSA Volunteer Program, a new online platform called QPay, and a quick rundown of the university clubs students could join. 

However, as of now, the KSA has not posted any plans regarding Welcome Week online. Considering students will also be returning to campuses this fall for the first time in over a year, there is some uncertainty of whether the event will be on campus, online, or a hybrid. But why not have a Welcome Week both online on various social media platforms and in-person at each campus?

The pandemic has shown everyone that a lot of activities can be converted to a digital medium for people to experience. 

After keeping distance from everyone and communicating online for so long, I’m sure plenty of people also miss the in-person interactions so long as it’s done in a safe manner such as setting up outside, or spaced enough to keep a safe distance. Having a few booths that expand upon the information already online may not be a bad idea, and having people who can answer questions in-person is super helpful.

One thing that should be covered is the variety of programs and clubs for students attending KPU to join and participate in. Informing students of a useful program like the MultiPass and its benefits is important information to spread since the U-Pass helps students who take public transit get to in-person classes. 

As someone who likes playing games, I am mostly indifferent to the prospect of leaving that out of Welcome Week. While I do miss messing around with the giant Jenga in the center of the Surrey campus, I think I can survive another Welcome Week without thinking about the amount of sanitizing needed to keep people safe. 

Eating free food given out by Grassroots would be nice to have again, but I don’t really mind missing out on it. 

The KSA did have online giveaways of gift cards earlier in the summer for checking out a local trail in their respective area, so while I think the KSA should mix up some elements of the giveaways, it would be nice to see that return for the fall as well, online or in-person.