By Mackenzie MacDonald, Contributor
While the idea of textbooks, early mornings, and essays may not excite those returning to school in September, the SGA executive team for the 2017-2018 academic year at Laurentian are promising their students a Welcome Week to remember.
This year’s SGA Welcome Week is going to be heavily music-focused
This year’s SGA Welcome Week, or WW2K17 as the team has been referring to it on social media, is going to be centered around music.
“It’s going to be a lot of energy,” says Simon Lafontant, Vice President of Student Life at the SGA. “I am a very music-oriented person; music is such a big part of my life. I feel like music should be a big part of everybody’s life!”
“We’re doing something this year that hasn’t been done, in terms of concerts and music genres, and it’s exciting, because we’re going to be pleasing a lot of people,” says Lafontant.
“Pretty much every event that we’re going to have [has] to be some type of music; either it’s [got] background music, or a front foremost musicale.”
Those who follow the SGA’s social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter have likely seen the video teasers for Beats on the Beach, Open Mic Night, and the main event of the week, the Volume Concert.
“We’ve had an amazing team this year,” says Lafontant. “Our media team is so organized; we’re planning everything in advance [and] taking more avenues of promotion, instead of just that [one] Facebook post.”
While Lafontant is only just stepping into an executive role at the SGA, many students already know him as producer and DJ GOLIATH.
“Did I use my background to influence who I picked to perform this year? Definitely, that’s a fact,” Lafontant says. “But did I keep in mind the students voice? Obviously! The fact that we listened to the [Facebook] polls [that we created] this year, instead of just winging it, is going to make a big difference. It goes with our mandate of listening to what the people want; we’re here for them at the end of the day.”
The main events run from September 1-3
Kicking off WW2K17 on September 1 will be the Open Mic Night, where students can showcase their talent, entertain the crowd and have the chance to win prizes.
“For the first time, the Open Mic Night will not be held at the main campus,” Lafontant says. “It’s going to be held at the [McEwen School of Architecture]. We felt that it was really important to raise awareness of the existence of this campus and location to students. [It also allows us] to reach out to the architecture students as well, bring them in and say ‘if you need anything come and talk to us, we’re here for you too’.”
“For the beach day, there’s going to be Beats on the Beach,” says Lafontant. This event takes place on the Laurentian campus beach on September 2nd.
The lineup for the main event, the Volume Concert, has officially been released
The main event of the week is the Volume Concert, which will be held off-campus this year at the Grace Hartman Amphitheatre in Bell Park on September 3rd: a decision that was not made lightly.
“One of the biggest [factors] was cost; the cost of having [the Volume Concert] on campus was a lot more than renting the Amphitheater. We’re talking saving thousands and thousands of dollars,” explains Lafontant.
“Plus, being at the Amphitheater versus being on campus, we have a lot more theatrical freedom in terms of being able to have some production elements that would just not be allowed on campus. [There are] safety [issues] that the Amphitheater would be able to covering that the school grounds aren’t, or could but for an enormous amount of money [on our end],” he continues.
“If everything goes according to plan, this should be the biggest ‘HOLY AHHHHH’ of production that Laurentian has ever had.”
According to Lafontant, the previous concerts held on campus grounds reportedly had low attendance. Off-campus students explained that they felt alienated from the on-campus activities, as opposed to those who live in residence, and are therefore in the center of the action.
“Long story short, [it goes back to] our mandate about the students, and how we’re here for them,” Lafontant says.
The headliners for the Volume Concert have been announced via the SGA’s social media accounts. Headlining the show is Dragonette, a basement pop/electro band from Toronto, following special guests Karl Wolf, The Keyframes, Kizar, Taco Fiesta, and DJ GOLIATH himself—many of whom are current or previous LU students.
“It’s [all about] trying to give back to the students and actually letting them perform on a huge production stage, [something] that took me years to get—so that’s really cool! I think that the lineup this year is really going to [close] the age [gap], [between] people coming into [their first year] all to the way to those in their fourth years and [beyond],” Lafontant says.
The SGA wants to bring back the spark and excitement that they feel Welcome Week should inspire in students, and encourage those who may be hesitant about attending events to come by and see what it’s really all about
“I think that, regardless of who you are, your taste in music, your social quirks or your fears, I Welcome Week [is] the one time of year where you get to be, either on campus or not, surrounded by people with the same focus as you, and be able to relax and connect with people, and make friends,” Lafontant says.