OPIRG Kingston’s Alt-Frosh week focuses on activism, diversity

Alternative frosh weeks looks to celebrate differences

OPIRG Kingston is hosting an alternative frosh week to discuss and celebrate diversity.
OPIRG Kingston is hosting an alternative frosh week to discuss and celebrate diversity.

For the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) Kingston, the end of frosh week and the first week of classes won’t be the end of first-year-oriented activities.

Starting on Friday, OPIRG is hosting a series of events as part of Alternative Frosh, or Alt-Frosh 2014.

According to their website, OPIRG Kingston is “dedicated to research, education, and action in the public interest” and is part of a province-wide network of 11 PIRGs.

Alt-Frosh events include a language and power workshop with Queen’s Human Rights, a peer helping workshop with the Peer Support Centre and a resilience panel for mental health with the Mental Health Awareness Committee. Though they’re targeted to first-year students, events are open to everyone at Queen’s.

The week concludes with a diversity potluck dinner on Sept. 21 at the Grey House, where OPIRG is located. The dinner will feature food from Four Directions Aboriginal Centre, the Queen’s Turkish Students Association and other organizations.

Queen’s Human Rights, the Peer Support Centre, the AMS Social Issues Commission, the Four Directions Aboriginal Centre, Queen’s Pride and Loving Spoonful are among the groups involved with Alt-Frosh activities.

Chantal D’Souza was OPIRG’s Orientation Coordinator this year. She said that while “traditional frosh week” helps introduce students to other people in their faculty and creates a sense of school spirit, it tends to focus on commonalities between students.

“It can be a little bit homogenizing because the Queen’s experience — traditional frosh week — tends to focus on what everyone has in common, overarching as Queen’s students, rather than individual identities and differences,” D’Souza, ConEd ’15, said.

“Alt-Frosh tends to try and celebrate those differences and different identities. We’re talking about different genders, different sexualities, different cultural identities, race, mental health.”

D’Souza said OPIRG wants to ensure incoming students are aware there’s a place for them on campus, no matter their background or how they identify.

“You don’t have to fit within a very traditional perspective of what a Queen’s student is, in order to find your place here at Queen’s,” she said.

“There will always be upper-years and people trying to make sure that you feel included and make sure there are spaces where you belong.”

Brea Hutchinson, OPIRG coordinator, said OPIRG has been running variations of Alt-Frosh for the past 11 years. Last year’s events were entitled “Q Series: Questioning the Status Quo.” The year before, it was “Rad Frosh.”

Hutchinson said there were fewer — albeit bigger — events last year, most of which were for students 19 years of age and older.

To make the events more accessible, they’ll be open to all ages this year. There will also be more events this year.

“[These] smaller, nearly-free if not free events [allow] much more of a wider conversation to be had,” Hutchinson said.

“This year is exceptional, I think, in the sense of our promotion, our outreach, the scope of the events and the comprehensiveness of the community groups and campus groups we’re working with.”

Alt-Frosh Events


3 p.m. - Prison Town - An Introduction to the Prison Industrial Complex in Kingston: This discussion is an introduction to the prison industrial complex in Kingston, which has six federal institutions, and within Canada. Theological Hall Room 102.

8:15 p.m. - Screening Under the Stars: To Be Takei: A free film screening presented by Reelout Queer Film + Video Festival, EQuiP and OPIRG Kingston. 51 Bader Lane.


10 a.m. - Porcupine Quill Earring Workshop: A workshop teaching attendees how to make a porcupine quill earring. Limited in size due to material availability. Four Directions Aboriginal Centre.

1 p.m. - Alternative Walking Tours of Kingston: A tour looking at untold histories in Kingston and “hidden gems”. Leaves from the Grey House at 51 Bader Lane.

7 p.m. - POCTALK Open Mic Night: Featuring Lady Sin Trayda, a spoken word artist who has performed across Canada. POCTALK is intended to give space and community to self-identified people of color, mixed race and/or indigenous people. The Sleepless Goat.


7 p.m. - Blue is the Warmest Colour Screening: A free screening of the award-winning film. The Screening Room.


7 p.m. - Blue is the Warmest Colour Discussion Space: A discussion on themes in Blue is the Warmest Colour, including the direction style, depictions of sex and queer film. The Grey House.


3:30 p.m. - Workbee with Loving Spoonful: Attendees can work with local organization Loving Spoonful to care for food produced for donation. Leaves from the Grey House and returns from Oak Street Community Garden.

8:30 p.m. - Free Film Screening: Disruption: A free screening of a film on climate change produced in association with the People’s Climate March in New York City on Sept. 21, and a discussion afterwards. There will also be a bus going to the march in the morning of Sept. 20. The Grey House.


7 p.m. - Words that Hurt: Language, Power and Privilege: A workshop hosted by OPIRG Kingston and the Queen’s Human Rights Department on language and power. The Red Room at 103 Stuart St.


1 p.m. - Positive Space Training Session: The Positive Space Program hosts an open training session, focusing on the importance of the celebration of sexual and gender identity diversity and building supportive communities. The Grey House.

5 p.m. - Diversity Potluck Dinner: A potluck dinner featuring food from Four Directions Aboriginal Centre, the Queen’s Turkish Students Association and more. The Grey House.

For details, go to https://www.facebook.com/events/835342256489482/

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