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About Orientation

Orientation is a shared partnership between the Federation of Students, the Graduate Student Association, the Student Success Office and the faculties.

Federation of Students University of Waterloo

Our mission

We believe that Orientation is an opportunity for new students to experience a balanced introduction to the academic, social and community aspects of university life with the guidance and support of upper-year students.

Orientation is an opportunity  to officially welcome new students and showcase our faculties, residences, affiliated institutions, support services and people.

Orientation fosters pride and connection to the University of Waterloo.

Orientation supports upper-year students in developing their interpersonal and leadership skills.

Our principles 

The following principles guide program development and interactions between all members of our community in the planning and delivery of Orientation.

  • Communication
  • Acceptance
  • Balance and moderation
  • Collaboration
  • Accountability
  • Respect

Guiding statement

The following guiding statement was developed through consultation with students, staff and faculty and has served as the vision for Orientation since 2016.

The University of Waterloo believes in preparing students to have intellectual, cultural and social success. Orientation creates an exceptional opportunity for new students to have this experience. We create an inclusive community that values interconnection, diversity and independence.

Together, our staff, faculty and upper-year students created a framework for knowledge enhancement that empowers students, invites self-discovery and choice in ways that challenge, support and invite progression and growth. Our simple and responsive approach ensures that everyone is well informed and understands the value of Orientation in successful student transition and sends a clear message to know what it is to feel that you belong and what it means to have Warrior and faculty pride.

Learning outcomes

The Orientation 2016 planning-process working group developed the following outcomes. It serves as a foundational document in developing the program planning for Orientation.

Upon the successful completion of Orientation we want the students...

to feel:

  • a part of the University of Waterloo community
  • a part of their faculty community

to have the opportunity to:

  • reflect on their feelings transitioning to the University of Waterloo
  • meet student leaders from their faculty
  • meet other students new to the University of Waterloo
  • meet staff and professors in their faculty
  • connect with their residence/off-campus community

to have a stronger understanding of:

  • the academic expectations in their faculty
  • where to go for help with their academics
  • what Academic Integrity means at the University of Waterloo and how they can uphold these expectations and policies
  • how to navigate campus
  • the Federation of Students and the services provided by their Student Government
  • key campus systems including: Quest, Learn, Portal, WatCard and the Waterloo website
  • what opportunities exist to get involved at the University of Waterloo, and the importance of maintaining a balanced lifestyle
  • the health and safety provisions on our campus, including being knowledgeable about Police Services, Health Services, and general campus safety and wellness
  • the co-op process (co-op students only)
  • the key cultural traditions and processes in Canada, know where to go for support, and feel comfortable managing their cultural transition (international students only)
  • the City of Waterloo and how they can be involved in the broader Waterloo Community
  • how the University of Waterloo can support them in their transition and their ongoing development as a student

Other audiences

  • Upon successful completion of their volunteer position, upper-year leaders will have had the opportunity to support first-year transition by passing on their knowledge and experiences while furthering their personal growth and development.
  • Parents and family members will have a stronger understanding of the supports available to their student at the University of Waterloo.