By: Gurung Sushant and Clint Maramag
After a series of activities, the UPEI NSO had its grand closure for the academic year 2021-2022 on Saturday, September 18th, 2021.
The New Student Orientation (NSO) was aimed to welcome new students and facilitate a seamless transition into UPEI and its resources. NSO assisted new students in adjusting to campus life smoother. They accomplished this by arranging engaging events during the first week of school.
The NSO crew was unique in that every member was a senior student at UPEI. As a result, new students learned everything they needed to know about student life at UPEI from them. These NSO volunteers took the time to get to know new students and guided them for the rest of the school year. It was a beautiful role for returning students with a strong interest in the NSO as it provided them with experience, opportunities for leadership, and long-lasting connections.
Some of the NSO activities this year differed from previous NSO events in that there were more significant physical interactions among students due to the university’s mandatory immunization regulations. A series of visits to familiarize out-of-province students with school amenities and the city were executed successfully. The NSO also provided a help desk for new and returning students, which was beneficial for both new and returning students. The NSO also arranged several fun activities and leisure events, including Beach Day (September 11th), Clash of Colors (September 12th), Pep Rally (September 13th), NSO Karaoke Night (September 17th), and a slew of others.
The overall views of students who partook during this event considered this endeavor a huge success. Some students even said that NSO day was life-changing for them and planned to return next year for another exciting NSO. Returning students who could not participate in campus life last year due to the pandemic also reported a favorable overall experience with the NSO.
Behind this successful event was the euphoric NSO coordinator, Jose Gonzales. Gonzales had been a critical proponent of UPEI. Having participated in enormous roles such as the Campus Life, Buddy Program Coordinator, and the Student Union, governing crucial events like NSO 2021 had always been his specialty. We had the opportunity to ask him some questions, and listed below were his responses:
In your own words, how has NSO impacted the university experience of new and returning students?
“That’s a funny question because I believe this was a transitional and key year for NSO. I truly believed that all my students, who got involved one way or another, got something from the experience.”
Gonzales emphasized the importance of getting engaged and rekindling the fire NSO has always been known to deliver.
“I believe NSO 2021 properly reintroduced a large student population to what NSO is all about: making friends, memories, learning a bit, and having loads of fun! I hope and believe that all my students who got involved with NSO this year will: A) Be highly involved in campus life and activity. B) Will carry out the spirit of NSO throughout the year. C) Will return in 2022 to make NSO just as if not more awesome.”
What was your favorite moment in this year’s NSO, and why?
“When thinking about this year’s NSO, a couple moments jump to mind! I would say the Top 5 moments include: NSO Beach Day, NSO Karaoke, NSO Virtual Talent Show, our little dance-off during the NSO Pep Rally, and my little closing speech during NSO Closing Ceremonies.”
Gonzales also reflected on his closing speech when NSO ended—implying that despite it finishing, the community’s profound involvement made it all worth it despite the difficulties this global pandemic has brought.
“It was not the most exciting event, but; I really did love being able to recognize and acknowledge the effort of many of my students through the awards given; they deserved as much as kudos as I and it was great to see them be so happy about doing a good job and putting effort. Not to mention, I had one of the biggest catharsis moments in my life during my closing speech. It was a mix of relief, sadness, and then basically my entire UPEI journey flashing before my eyes as I cried and got “my moment” in the spotlight.”
Lastly, we asked Gonzales on what advice he could give for all the students that took part in NSO. In which he said:
“”Your university experience is much more than a perfect GPA.” By that I mean, while being good students is our main priority, university flies by extremely quickly and you must make the most out of it!”
He said that associations within the university would be a prime factor in a student’s life. Adding that, it would open countless opportunities that could inevitably nourish one’s being, and his words could not be more valid!
NSO 2021 was a pedestal of new hope and beginnings. It introduced a strong foundation for both new and returning students. It sparked the hearts of many students and reflected an important life prospect: getting involved!