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Parent to Parent: It All Begins With An Awesome O-Week

"My husband and I are in a unique position of having both our son and daughter attending Laurier at the same time."

Our son was the first to leave in 2011, followed by our daughter in  2012. I fully admit that we were pretty green when it came to figuring out how this university experience would go down and how best to prepare for all that was required. It didn’t take long  however to see that the university had every angle covered. The correspondence packages, websites, brochures, tours and programs were a wealth of knowledge that set us on the right  path and time line to have  everything in place to get our son on his way.


 The  very organized approach that Laurier has perfected  certainly  went a long way to calm our inner fears and made the transition a totally awesome experience. Move in day stands out in my mind for a few reasons.

"The volunteer enthusiasm was contagious and really broke the ice which put all of us at ease."

I believe it really resonated with our daughter who at that time was in the process of deciding which university she  wanted to attend the following year. There are so many  different emotions to deal with  on move in day: for the student, parents and siblings.  You know that ultimately at the end of that day, you will leave your child there and the family dynamics are forever changed.

"As parents, we were excited, nervous, apprehensive, happy and sad all at the same time."

In the short time it took to get him moved in and acquainted with his roomies, meet his don etc I knew without a doubt that he would be just fine.  When the time came to  leave, it was with a genuine sense of well being and internal calm that this would be a positive chapter in all of our lives. 

 As parents, it is so rewarding to see both kids embrace the university experience so openly. I believe this is because of the tight campus community and all it has to offer.

"Laurier has provided the backdrop that has cemented many awesome friendships, connections, opportunities and opened new doors to be explored. All in a safe and nurturing environment."

Even though it tugs at the heart strings just a bit to know that our job as parents needs to take its rightful place on the back burner (somewhat) as our kids find their independence, it is so comforting knowing that the Laurier community has stepped up to continue what we started. 

Laurier offers so many  events for the students to participate in and for us parents to follow through social media that we always feel connected. It’s easy to tell that O-Week had a major impact on both kids their first year as they both have been involved ever since. It all began with an awesome O-Week experience!

The concept of O-Week is genius
The execution of O-Week is monumentally impressive
The memories of O-Week are infinite

Sheila and Gary Van Herzele
Proud Laurier Parents

As parents, you probably have lots of questions about Orientation Week. Tyler and Kaipa, our O-Week planners extraordinaire are ready and waiting to take your questions.

Tyler is our Brantford guy, you can reach him at

Kaipa’s doing her thing on the Waterloo campus and waiting to hear from you at

O-Week By The Numbers - Breaking Down Your First Week



Tyler, Director of Orientation, Programming & Events


Kaipa, Director of Orientation

What are you waiting for? You can Register here.

We’ve broken down your first week as a Golden Hawk below.



The Arkells are coming to campus, exclusively for O-Week students.

$9,500 IN PRIZES 


We’ll give one lucky student the year of their life when we pay for their tuition, textbooks a room makeover and more. Fireworks not included.

Play now – Sign up for O-Week’s Luckiest Student

$154,888 RAISED


Our yearly Shinerama campaign broke a national record last year. Let’s do that again, yeah? Cystic fibrosis ain’t no thang.



We want to introduce you to the school in style. The Info Fair (Brantford) and Get Involved Fair (Waterloo) will let you meet tons of new students from clubs, volunteers groups and more. You’re bound to come across a few groups that just get you. Let your inner nerds fly. 



Okay, maybe not. But when your team competes in the annual Cheer Off, your voice will reach new heights.



We met some of our best friends during our first day of Orientation Week. They might be sitting right next to you.



Our secret showcase act is guaranteed to leave you with a smile on your face. Past acts include comedians, magicians, hypnotists and more.



60 minutes is all it’ll take for motivational speaker, Andy Thibodeau to pump you up and get you feeling like you’ll be ready to take on the world.



You’ll show off your countless talents at this years talent show. Last year we saw even saw a guy juggle swords for us.



It takes grade point average of 10 (an A- or 80%) to make it on the Dean’s List. With our student success sessions, we’ll help you get started on the right foot.



In the end, it comes down to 4 colour teams battling it out across 2 campuses to take home Orientation Week glory.

Sign up for Orientation Week here.

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7 Golden words you’ll hear during O-Week



Scott, Community Manager @students_union

What the heck is a Loris? Do you mean Lorax? Like the Dr. Seuss book? Nope but don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Coming to Laurier is an adjustment, so we chose 7 words that you’ll definitely hear during O-Week. We want all of you to be ahead of the game.



This magical piece of plastic is your pass to Laurier. From buying food on campus, printing papers or using the bus, the OneCard is the one thing you’ll never want to leave home without.


Course Syllabus

It’s your roadmap to your course. It’s got your important due dates, readings, and your prof’s drop in office hours (don’t disregard these!)



It’s like the Wikipedia article for your class. On here you’ll find your course syllabus, class listings, lecture notes and your grades.



If you need it, it’s probably on Loris. This is your online hub to pick your classes, pay tuition and apply for bursaries. Tip: To see your class schedule for the week at once, search “week at a glance”.


Students’ Union

In short, the Students’ Union represents you, the students. We also throw some sweet events like O-Week and Winter Carnival, and provide you with services like Food bank and Foot Patrol.

Read More - 8 Ways to Get Involved as a Golden Hawk


Meal Plan

Everyone needs to eat, right? That’s why you have a meal plan. Your meal plan gives you money so you can buy meals on and off campus. This means you don’t need to carry around 3 pounds of change just to grab a coffee or a slice of pizza. It’s just a swipe of your OneCard.



You might notice a lot of people cheering at you during O-Week. These are your Icebreakers. They are your guides during O-Week. Heck, they are your guides for life. These great people bleed purple and gold and know Laurier like the back of their hands. Use them as a resource, its what they’re here for.


Need more Laurier lingo deciphered? Tweet us and we’ll get our team of experts on it right away.

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How To: Play O-Week’s Luckiest Student


Michael, Community Manager

Have you ever held one of those giant, oversized novelty cheques? They are the international symbols that show you’re a real baller. Trust me, it’s a heck of feeling to be handed a cheque with a bunch of zeros on the end. O-Week’s Luckiest is your opportunity to be at the top of the class, the cat’s pajamas and the who’s who of Laurier all at the same time. You’ll be Internet famous before you’ve even stepped into a lecture hall. Just ask Elisabetta here. She lives at home and commutes to campus by bus every day (the ride takes up to an hour each way). She’s going in to her third year and we gave her that big cheque feeling. Last year we paid her tuition, gave her money for books, groceries, and tons more. She is Laurier’s Luckiest Student - the one student who walked home at the end of the year with $7,000 in cash and prizes. It makes those long bus rides a heck of a lot sweeter.


"I’m going to be able to not worry as much." - Elisabetta Gambetti


How nice would it be to have your tuition paid for? Well dream bigger because we’re just getting started. We’re going to reveal more prizes that are going to make you scream with delight. We’ve still got some surprises up our sleeve to reveal. We want to hear from you. What kind of prizes would make your year? Tweet us @students_union and let us know how we can make this truly awesome.


OK, I’m Hooked, how do I sign up?

Happy you asked! Visit the site and sign up for an account if you don’t already have one. It takes less than a minute. You’ll be given the option to opt-in to every prize we’ve revealed. Make sure that you check every single one of them. If we pull you as our winner, you pick up every single prize that you checked off. More is better.


But We need your help

We want one of you to be O-Week’s Luckiest but we need your help. You guys are all social media experts and know how to take the best selfie, apply the best filter and throw up the biggest hashtag. We’d love to see your skills in action and learn all the tips and tricks, so we’ve set up some accounts to stay in touch. You can find us on Facebook , Twitter: @students_union , Instagram: yourstudentsunion and Snapchat: students_union so give us a follow.

You can pick up extra entries to have your name entered in the final draw more than once. Completing social actions (like following us on Facebook) will automatically earn you extra entries. Taking part in challenges will also earn you voucher codes that you can redeem for extra entries. It pays to keep an eye on this site and our social media accounts, because you never know where a voucher or a challenge will pop up. Give us a follow, because you’ll never know when we’ll throw up an extra entry or 20.


What would you buy with an extra five grand?

Okay - so technically, it’s not an extra five grand, but it’s sure as heck five grand you don’t have to spend on tuition. Having that extra cheddar around means you might be able to say yes to seeing that movie (in 3D, no less), yes to that second round of coffees, and yes to that impromptu last minute get away to your roomies hometown.


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Hey Look We’re On Instagram!

Selfies, filters and hashtags. We know how much you guys love Instagram so we decided to join in on the fun! Throughout the summer we’re going to be sharing some pictures about what is going on in our lives here at the Students’ Union. We’d love to keep in touch over the summer so we’ll be using #laurieroweek #laurier and #wlu so everyone can can stay in the loop. Oh and don’t be afraid to give us a follow either @yourstudentsunion we don’t bite. And there is a contest to win your tuition. You’ll just have to check it out.

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5 Facts You Need To Know About The Emergency Response Team

When you’re walking around campus, going to a sporting event or even to the Turret on a Saturday night, you’ll be graced with the presence of students in bright red jackets and huge backpacks. They bear a striking resemblance to mountain climbers and while they’re probably very good at ascending long distances in high altitudes, we keep them around to make sure our students are safe. As first responders, the Emergency Response Team is quick to the scene if there is medical issue on campus to provide support and first aid. ERT is an essential service to the wellbeing of our students. For our students on the Waterloo, ERT can be reached at 519-885-3333 and for Brantford students, Special Constables can be reached at 519-756-8228.

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7 tips for living on a student budget



Abner Pennings, Head Ice Breaker

Earlier in the week I outlined 3 simple steps that will make your budgeting life much easier. Our friends over at Libro Credit Union even let us use their fancy online calculator to help you become a budgeting pro! The real challenge though, is sticking to it. So here are seven tips you can use to save that extra bit of cash:

1. Don’t splurge or impulse buy


At the beginning this may be difficult but after your first month at university you’ll realize how important it is to spend money on the things that matter, not the candy you saw lingering around the cash register at the grocery store.

Cheap days are your friend


Waterloo and Brantford are practically student run cities. Stores understand the benefit of driving business through student discounts. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEM! Learn what days the student discounts are on and use them freely. I know 10% off groceries on Tuesdays at Zehrs has paid off especially in my later years at Laurier.

Leave your credit card in your room


Credit cards are great. But we all know the horror stories about racking up huge debts and taking years to pay it off. Carrying credit card debt doesn’t just affect you today but also after you graduate when you want to buy a car or get a mortgage on your first house. In first year you should avoid carrying that credit card and only use it in an emergency. As well, the freedom could lead to you buying things you really don’t need or even have the money for.

if you can make it don’t buy it


Buying a $5 coffee at Starbucks every morning is probably not the smartest idea when you can make a mean cup of joe for less than 30 cents in your apartment or residence lounge. When you think about it, that a $5 cup of coffee per day is the equivalent of an entire month of rent for your housing in second year. And that’s just by the end of your first semester.

Look for used books


Almost every first student falls under the misconception that they should buy all their textbooks new as soon as they get to university. You can avoid this by purchasing used textbooks from upper year students. This can easily save you hundreds of dollars a semester. Check on the Facebook groups for Laurier students as upper years are always trying to get rid of textbooks they don’t need anymore, usually at a steep discount.

Bring a Lunch


Throughout your first year you will notice how easy it is to buy food on campus. At ten bucks a day, food expenses can add up very quickly. Bringing a lunch is not only a lot cheaper but in most cases a lot healthier as well.

Reward Banking


Banks know that students are usually trying to save as much money as possible, which is why they all offer student plans so you can save some extra cash. Go to your financial institution and see what kind of student deals they offer. Many provide different rewards, like no fee banking, free cheques or even some sweet cash back deals.

There are plenty of ways to save money as a first year student. You should try and take advantage of all the opportunities available, so you can focus on your new life and not your finances. I hope this gives everyone some good ideas on how to make your Laurier experience the best that it can be!

See you all in September.

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