September 25, 2020

BY JESSICA REDIKER
After a rainy first day back at Conestoga College, the clouds parted to shine some much needed sun on the Sept. 5 Frosh Carnival at Doon campus.
The great weather wasn’t the only incentive students had to join in on the fun. Free food, free samples, the sounds of DJ Flash and the opportunity to run wild through an inflatable obstacle course all played a key role.
The event, which took place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the lot behind the Sanctuary, was held by Conestoga Students Inc. (CSI) and is just one of the many new events CSI hopes to bring to students this year.
Students have come to expect the tradition of a party at the school’s pond each year but CSI’s newest program and communications co-ordinator, Becky Saba, thought it was time for a change. The first change: improving the pond party.
“Last year we ran our concert on the same day as KOI Music Festival, a huge festival with over 150 bands. So I thought, why compete with them when we can just work with them?” said Saba, who worked with the festival this year to help Conestoga College become one of its main sponsors, which resulted in students getting their own venue for the festival.
Saba has held her current position with CSI since January, and has been a student at the college for five years, studying both recreation and leisure services, and business administration management studies. She said those years gave her time to figure out what other changes were needed.
“Over the summer I basically just did my best to chat with students and see what they wanted, and what I kept hearing was ‘more fun, more free stuff and more free food,’” and that’s exactly what CSI delivered.”
The fun came in the form of inflatable attractions such as gladiator jousting, an obstacle course, a mechanical bull station and an inflatable rock wall.
James Fioretti and Taylor Harrington, third-year marketing students, raced each other to the summit of an Easter Island-themed rock wall, a challenge that was harder than it looked.
“It was really hard to get a grip and my feet and my hands kept slipping.
“You kept looking up and looking down, but you had to look and see where the rocks were so you could co-ordinate your steps,” said Fioretti, who came out on top.
Though rock-climbing participants wore a harness, an element of fear was still at play.
“Every time you slipped you’d feel like you were just going to fall the whole way down,” said Fioretti.
Free merchandise was provided by vendors Cineplex, Samsung, Nair, Trojan, Mio, Spinbrush and Arm & Hammer, who each brought samples geared toward students. Students could enter contests or play a game to win prizes at each of the vendor tents.
CSI served up the free food for the day. Hotdogs, soft drinks and about 1,500 hamburgers were on the carnival menu, but it wasn’t just CSI staff that made the event possible.
“We had our CSI team there but throughout the day I had students come up to me and say ‘listen, this is awesome, do you want me to just jump behind and help you guys hand out pop?” Saba said, adding that they couldn’t have pulled the event off without those students.
Doon campus wasn’t the only one to have all the frosh week fun. For the first week back, other Conestoga campuses dished out free food such as pizza and had games available to students as well.
So what can students expect from CSI for the rest of the school year?
Regularly scheduled events will include $3 beer, suitably named “Sanctuary Lager,” available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays at the Sanctuary bar.
T.G.I.T. (Thank Goodness It’s Thursday) will be a weekly free item giveaway to help students get through the week – an event that CSI will also use to help bring awareness to some of the services they offer.
Major events that were popular with students in previous years such as November’s Movember ‘Stache Bash and the X-rated hypnotist will be returning this year.
“In the end I would love every student to at least come out to one event,” said Saba.
Though the events this year will come in many sizes, Saba takes each one seriously, to ensure she delivers the best experiences to students.
“To me, I think any of the events where you have students saying ‘this is awesome, thank you so much,’ to me, those are the best events no matter how big or small they are.”