Spotlight: WUSA FOC's Naomi Sumi and Kendra Connolly

WUSA logo
Sabrina Guillen
Communications Assistant
Thu, 10/17/2019 - 12:00

 

WATER!
WATER!
WATER!

LOO!
LOO!
LOO!

FOCIf this cheer sounds familiar, then you’ve probably attended Waterloo Orientation. Regardless of whether you went, you probably know it as a crazy series of days with exciting entertainment and activities to help you get to know our campus and student life better. Many students make friends during Orientation that last throughout their university experience. For others, it serves as a good way to navigate campus (I mean, who didn’t get lost during their first term?) and connect with upper years that know all the ropes. But a lot goes on behind the scenes to make it memorable.

For this Spotlight article, we're taking a look back to highlight the dedication of our 2019 WUSA FOC team, which you probably just knew as FOC (Federation Orientation Committee) before our name change. Moving forward, the Federation Orientation Committee will be known as the Waterloo Orientation Team (O-Team), but since we're referring to the WUSA FOC team in the past tense, we'll stick with FOC for this. While we appreciate the effort of the entire team, today we'd like to highlight two members of that team, Naomi Sumi and Kendra Connolly, who worked tirelessly to ensure the programming they ran was innovative, engaging, and relevant.

Naomi and Kendra made a real difference to the 2019 Orientation because they were fearless in proposing new plans and initiatives. For example, they changed up the Saturday night programming, moving away from Monte Carlo to Saturday Night Bash; a greater success! Their focus was on ensuring that everyone involved in Orientation, volunteers and students alike, had a positive experience. They also wanted to provide opportunities for coordinators to develop their leadership skills.  This kind of massive undertaking can only work if the whole team operates as cohesive unit; like they are of one mind. Naomi and Kendra led the Orientation team to work like a well-oiled machine.

We sat down with Naomi and Kendra to reflect on their Orientation experience and why they're so passionate about making it the best it can be.

Kendra Connolly

KendraProgram: 4A Public Health

What is your favorite part of Orientation?
Seeing incoming students make connections with each other throughout the week. It's amazing to see how friendships develop from the beginning of the week through to the last night of programming. Two of the people on this year's FOC team were in my Orientation group in first year. We've been friends throughout our time at Waterloo and now in our fifth year, we were all FOC together.

Why did you decide to become part of the FOC team?
I wanted to help incoming students with the transition from high school to university. My first year of FOC was in 2018 and I wanted to come back in 2019 to make bigger changes to campus-wide programming, as well as build up student leaders who can continue to make Orientation great!

What advice would you give to first-year students?
Get involved! Find something you're interested in and make time for it in your schedule. Studying is important but make sure you give yourself the opportunity to meet new people, participate in activities you enjoy, and reset outside of the classroom. UW and the City of Waterloo have so much to offer; take advantage of that!

Why should you attend Orientation?
Orientation is one of the few times you'll be with thousands of other people who are also looking to make friends. Attending Orientation events makes it easy to introduce yourself to others and build connections right from the start of your time at university. You'll also meet upper-year students, get to know your way around campus, and have a bunch of fun before the studying starts!

Naomi Sumi

NaomiProgram: 4B Recreation and Leisure Studies

What is your favourite part of Orientation?
My favourite part would have to be move-ins. It’s a moving day for both parents and students. Parents are always amazed by leaders helping with move-ins. It makes me happy knowing that on a stressful day (for parents) we were able to help a little.

Why did you decide to become part of the FOC team?
I previously was a Don and saw the benefits of orientation through my first-year students. I was also a leader and knew how fun orientation week was. Becoming a FOC was a natural progression that combined my love for planning, first-year experience and my passion for O-week.

What advice would you give to first-year students?
Sleep, eat green leafy foods and go to class.

Why should you attend Orientation?
It's a week where the only goal is to meet people and have fun. There are so many lasting friendships that I have built through orientation. You also have the opportunity to meet upper years and ask them questions. It basically allows you to build up your Waterloo community.

Did we convince you to volunteer for Orientation? If you're looking for more information, visit our WUSA Orientation page. All of our volunteer opportunities are available on LEADS [external link], so check frequently! Do you have questions about Orientation that we missed here? Connect with us at Waterloo Orientation [external link] or 519-888-4567 x84300.