Frosh Week: Dispelling the Myths

frosh activitiesThe amount of hype and misinformation about Engineering Frosh Week is significant, and as a result some incoming students find the thought of Frosh Week intimidating. Here are some facts which will hopefully alleviate some of the fears and help your child approach their orientation week with a sense of excitement and anticipation.

First of all, Frosh Week activities are optional, not mandatory. If a student wishes to participate, they sign up early in the week and pays a small fee. However, signing up does not oblige a student to participate in all, or even any, events. If students decide that they just want to watch an event rather than participate, or drop out entirely, this is possible at any time.

Frosh Week is designed to encourage new students to work together in a group and to form strong bonds with students in their year. Groups of about 25 “Frosh” (new Engineering students) are led by four “Frecs” – two female and two male second year students—who are the purple, kilt-wearing, crazy-hair sporting students who usually end up on the front page of the newspaper. And although the initial “Frec encounter” involves a great deal of shouting and silliness, the Frecs quickly become leaders, friends, and mentors to the students in their Frosh group.

Frecs undergo a rigorous screening and training process. They are interviewed for the positions by the Engineering Society and are carefully chosen. They are required to arrive at Queen’s the week prior to Frosh Week, and are put through a rigorous training process that involves leadership, safety, and sensitivity training. They are also taught how to recognize and counsel students who might appear to be uncomfortable with their experience.

Engineering Frosh Week involves a number of events that combine teamwork with friendly competition and a liberal dose of goofiness. The week culminates on Saturday morning with the greasepole, an event where the collective group of Frosh must figure out how to work together to recover a Queen’s tam nailed to the top of a lanolin-covered wooden pole.

Frosh Week events are closely monitored and supervised with an emphasis on safety, security, and sensitivity. All events must be approved in advance by the Senate Orientation Activities Review Board (SOARB) and by the Dean of Engineering and Applied Science. SOARB committee members are present at all events and scrutinize them carefully.

For many Engineering students, Frosh Week is one of the defining aspects of their university experience. But obviously it may not be for everyone. All choices are respected, so it is completely acceptable to sit and watch the fun or to simply go off and do your own thing.

group photo of engineering frosh