Know your Frosh Weeks

Get familiar with Queen’s Orientation Weeks and what makes them special

Image supplied by: Journal file photo
Engineering frosh gather around their FREC. 

Of course you’re excited for your Orientation Week, but how much do you know about the others?

Queen’s runs nine, unique Orientation Weeks that welcome new students each year, frosh or not. Each Orientation Week immerses students in both school and faculty tradition. Led by passionate student volunteers, the different Orientations are often the first impression of Queen’s for students and can be their fondest memory of university.

Arts and Science

ASUS has the largest Orientation Week out of all the faculties due to their incoming class size. ASUS Orientation has around 550 Orientation leaders called Gaels that can be recognized by their blue shirts. 

Head Gael, Becky Wieschkowski, ArtSci ’17, told The Journal that she and her Orientation Week are gearing up for about 2,700 incoming ArtSci students.

ASUS frosh get to look forward to a number of events, from a semi-formal that has a different theme each year, a carnival held in Nixon Field and participating in the Frosh Olympics, where students get down and dirty in their personalized coveralls.


During Commerce Orientation Week, first year students are put into Syndicates led by their Orientation leaders, known as Bosses.

Bruce Meilikhan, Comm ’16, chair of the Commerce Executive on Orientation — which cleverly shortens to 

CEO — told The Journal via email, “Without giving too much away, notable events in this year’s week include the Mystery Road Trip, the Boat Cruise, the Commerce-Engineering Cheer Off, and our inaugural COMMapalooza.”

When asked about his favourite Orientation Week memory, Meilikhan wrote that commerce students have to wait until Day 3 to find out.

After the University Senate put Commerce Orientation Week on probation in Sept. 2014 due to the intensity of their events, the organizers are now focused on creating a safer, inclusive week.


With its purple-coloured, kilt-wearing Orientation leaders called FRECs (Frosh Regulation Enforcement Committee), Engineering Orientation Week is arguably one of Queen’s most iconic Frosh Weeks.

Incoming engineering students are in for a wild week where they’ll get their first-ever eng-cut (a hairstyle achieved with gelatin and spray-paint), get muddy at the Highland Games, climb the infamous grease pole and more.

“Orientation Week embodies the spirit, collaboration, and sense of community that makes the Faculty of Engineering & Applied Science and Queen’s University stand apart,” Engineering Orientation Chair Pippa Gouinlock, Sci ’17 wrote in an email to The Journal.

First Years Not In Residence (FYNIR)

FYNIR Orientation’s aim is to give students living off campus the same welcome as the ones who’ll be living in residence.

Mandy Pare, ArtSci ’17, the chair of the FYNIRS program, told The Journal that FYNIR Orientation leaders — called Landlords — fulfill the same role as residence dons for the FYNIRS.

Pare said that FYNIRs Orientation is a great time for first year students to build friendships outside of their faculty. “Personally, FYNIRS is where I met my closest friends — some of whom were even in my Orientation Week group!”

Among the events to welcome off-campus students to Queen’s, the FYNIRs will have their own lounge in the Queen’s Centre to rest between activities.


Nursing Orientation welcomes the incoming class of nurses with their 28 Frosh Week leaders known as Capes.

The name Cape comes from the fact that nurses in the Second World War would wear capes as a part of their uniform, according to Head Cape, Bryn Rahusaar Routledge, Nurs `18, in an email to The Journal.

Today, you can recognize Capes by their blue shirts and red scrub pants.

Because of their small size, Nursing Orientation partners with other faculties for joint events. Nurses join the engineers for Thundermugz — where the engineers and nurses build chariots together — see a hypnotist show with ASUS and have a barbeque with CompSci as well as having breakfast with PHE/Kin.

Physical and Health Education and Kinesiology 

The class of 2020 will be the last class to incorporate both Physical Education and Kinesiology students due to the suspension of admissions to the Physical and Health Education Program starting in 2017.

Recognizable by their bright red shorts and whistles, PHE/Kin Orientation is led by Orientation leaders called Coaches and Head Coach, Jasper Bienzle, PheKin `18, promises that they’ll be full of energy.

Bienzle told The Journal that PHE/Kin orientation is highlighted by an overnight trip to Camp Oconto, as well as a Motionball fundraiser, where students partner with Special Olympics athletes in various sports.

Bienzle said that his favourite orientation event is the Amazing Race, an obstacle course with lots of mud and water.

New Exchange Worldly Transfer Students (NEWTS)

NEWTS Orientation Week is for exchange, international and Bader International Study Centre students coming to Queen’s.

It’s the fourth time Head of NEWTS, Caitlin McKeen, ArtSci ’16, has been involved with Orientation Week. “As the Head of NEWTS my team of coordinators and chairs aim to make incoming students feel comfortable in their new home and give them the best possible welcome to campus,” she told The Journal.

Unlike other faculty orientations, Geckos, NEWTS orientation leaders, come from all faculties and all years.

Computer Science

This year’s chair for Computing Orientation Week is Khamil Alhade, CompSci ’18, and according to him, CompSci Orientation Week proves that CompSci stereotypes are myths.

Computing Orientation’s leaders are called Techs. Incoming CompSci students can look forward to a trip to Camp RKY, dancing off against the nurses, and the CompSci Cup Tournament where CompSci orientation groups square off to win the most gigapoints. 

Alhade told The Journal that Computing Orientation Week is different in that its small faculty size allows for a closer community.

“By doing CompSci Orientation Week, you’ll get a chance to build up a network of people who’ll help you get through the years of your degree!”

Concurrent Education

ConEd Orientation leaders are called Teaches, and Head Teach, Emma Soars, ConEd ’17, told The Journal via email that she’s confident they’ll bring a positive energy to the week.

“From sitting with someone during lunchtime or even helping people figure out timetables, Teaches go above and beyond every time.”

ConEd Orientation Week will feature events like their charity event with Easter Seals, a charity that focuses on helping disabled or special needs children and adults.

Soars also wrote that overall ConEd Orientation is a celebration of being yourself. 

“First year students come into the week probably feeling nervous and homesick, and hopefully at the end they feel more empowered and self confident than ever before.”


Asus, Commerce, computer science, ConEd, Engineering, Frosh, FYNIR, In Focus, NEWTS, Nursing, orientation, PheKin

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