Orientation week volunteers classified as AMS volunteers

Orientation leaders sign contract designating them AMS volunteers

Queen’s orientation week starts on Sept. 2.

Orientation week volunteers are now classified as AMS volunteers, according to updated orientation volunteer contracts.

Every year, undergraduate students volunteer with faculty orientation week as orientation week leaders. These leaders serve as the first point of contact for first year students, and liaison with orientation coordinators, who are tasked with planning and executing the logistics of orientation week.

Starting in 2014, all orientation week leaders signed a volunteer contract titled the “Senate Contract for Orientation Leaders,” which stipulated orientation leaders would strive to make orientation a welcoming and inclusive activity. It included detailed requirements for orientation leaders pertaining to job duties, eligibility, performance standards, and restrictions placed on alcohol consumption.

Since 2021, all orientation week contracts signed by orientation week volunteers have stipulated these volunteers would be classified as AMS volunteers and seek to uphold the AMS mission statement through participating in orientation, despite being overseen by faculty societies.

The AMS Constitution states faculty societies should remain distinct from the AMS.

According to AMS Vice-President (University Affairs) Victoria Mills, this policy change was made to better reflect that as an oversight body, Orientation Roundtable (ORT) is an entity of the AMS, and the decision to update the language in the policy aimed to promote more cohesion in the AMS.

ORT is an AMS body that oversees all faculty orientation weeks.  According to Mills, ORT oversees high-level logistical planning for all 11 orientation week programs, which includes ensuring all necessary permits are found, equipment rental, and faculties don’t have overlapping events.

“The ORT agreement is a vessel to ensure that the university policies that govern orientation are being met by all the orientation leaders in one sort of contract,” she said.

“There’s so many different policies that everyone needs to adhere to for Orientation Week. The ORT agreement basically takes all of that together, and we’re able to disperse that to all faculty societies, orientation leaders, and executives, to have them agree to these terms.”

Though there are separate tiers to orientation, Mills said each student is tasked with the overarching responsibility of ensuring incoming students have a safe and inclusive introduction to life at Queen’s.

While faculty orientation weeks are responsible for running their own events, the University must provide final approval for orientation week activities. ORT acts as a liaison between faculty societies and the University, explained Mills.

“This is never a means to kind of take away from faculty societies, which is precisely the reason that we also stipulate in the contract itself that all other relevant faculty society policies should be adhered to by any orientation executive, leader, or head,” Mills said.

To Mills, who was the Operations Chair within ASUS Orientation last year, the change helps ORT better ensure all faculty societies are being held to the same standard.

“ORT ensures that we’re able to disseminate information to faculty societies and enter those all that coordination on that aspect of things,” Mills said. “Having this one body be that streamliner and liaise for all this communication ensures everyone is always on the same page.”


orientation, ORT, Policy

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