Over a thousand first-year University of Alberta students swarmed the Hawrelak Park amphitheatre Monday evening for the annual President’s Address, wrapping up two days of orientation that introduced newcomers to the university.
The crowd was notable in its enthusiastic participation this year, cheering and dancing alongside hundreds of orientation leaders prior to the delivery of speeches.
Students’ Union Vice-President (Student Life) Saadiq Sumar, who was clad in Cat in the Hat attire, kicked off the ceremony with excerpts from Dr. Seuss’ Oh The Places You’ll Go, and reflected on his own involvement on campus.
“Over the course of the coming days, you’ll hear that extracurricular involvement is important to your studies,” said Sumar. “Involvement is not only important, but it also gives you the skills and experiences that you can’t find in a classroom.”
Prior to taking the stage, SU President Colten Yamagishi told The Gateway he was thrilled by students’ participation this year.
“I think just the overall energy and spirit is absolutely amazing,” he said.
He then told the crowd during his speech: “You may not all want the same things in life, but I know that you all want to find success.”
An upbeat performance by a small group from the U of A Dance Club entertained the crowd before President Indira Samarasekera delivered her address to students.
Samarasekera challenged students to put forth their energy towards generating change, and to challenge themselves not only in their studies, but also in their activities outside the classroom.
“All of you are the best and the brightest students in all of Canada,” Samarasekera said.
“Part of what makes the U of A so special, so great, is all of the time and the energy we — all the people you met today, our faculty, our staff and our students — devote to making a difference the community, on and off campus.”
The traditional candlelight ceremony to the national anthem drew the night to a close, followed by draws for prizes that included a $1,000 scholarship and a new MacBook Pro.
Week of Welcome will continue throughout the week with MainStage performances in Dinwoodie Lounge and Beer Gardens in quad.
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