While he may be co-leading O-Week’s Red Team with Head Icebreaker Sabrina Ruffolo, Ali Sukru is in fact your genuine student, relatable on all levels. Sukru is a Hamilton-native, Contemporary Studies major, and a devout soccer fan.
Sukru may not designate a lot of his time to participating in all the programs and clubs around campus, but when it comes to his hobbies, he is devoted at heart.
“On my spare time I tend to write music, sing and rap,” says Sukru, adding, “I love to play and watch soccer, and Arsenal is my favourite team.”
Sukru also enjoys the time he can spend with family and friends, asserting that he is very approachable.
When describing what he would like to bring to the Red Team for Orientation Week, Sukru says, “Some of the things that I can bring to the table for O-Week as an Icebreaker would be my outgoing personality and my sense of humor. I love to joke around, have fun and make new friends.” He continues, “If you ever see me around, don’t hesitate to say ‘hi.’”
With his degree, Sukru would like to continue on with his education, and apply to teacher’s college. Meanwhile, he intends to work his way up through his current employer. When the incoming students arrive for Orientation Week, Sukru has an important message for them: “Go out and have fun; enjoy yourself, and be proud to be a Laurier Golden Hawk, because these are the best times of your life!”
Between her taste in music and her ability to understand the very nature of the word in respect to the people around her, this is what Sabrina Ruffolo embodies. ‘Diversity’ is what Ruffolo is all about.
The Mississauga-native and Concurrent Education student, set to be waving the red colours during Orientation Week, is an avid hockey fan, rooting each year for the hometown Maple Leafs. She has also taken some slap shots herself, having previously played for five years.
Ruffolo also devotes some of her time to volunteering in the community. Since her second year, she has been introducing the newcomers to Laurier as an Icebreaker. She has also worked on the Hawk Team, and as an executive for the Laurier Students for Literacy program. As diversity is the name of the game, Ruffolo also sat on the MyRespect committee, designed to create an all-inclusive environment for the categorically diverse student body.
“Being on MyRespect, I learned how different people can be, and how important it is to make people feel comfortable,” Ruffolo remarks.
To Ruffolo, it is important to ensure students are welcomed, and ease the transition from high school to the next level, where she has been for the past four years.
“We have many different committees and clubs, and I think that getting involved makes the whole university experience far better,” says Ruffolo.
She has a simple message for the new students that will be joining the Laurier Brantford community: “Enjoy your time at our amazing campus as much as you can. Your time here will fly by.”
For Kitchener-native and Concurrent Education student Dan Scholtz, it is the little things in his experiences and showing enthusiasm that matter most. As a student entering his fourth year, Scholtz feels that this is the way to be, especially as one of Orientation Week’s Head Icebreakers for this year’s Blue Team.
“Those who know me personally, or from O-week know that I have a sense of ‘don’t care who’s watching.’ I let it all out on the line,” Scholtz said. He adds, “I feel like some of my best connections have been with the shyer first-years and breaking them out of their shells.”
Outside of volunteering to co-lead his team with the other blue Head Icebreaker Julie Moore, Scholtz is very involved in other areas of campus life. He will continue to be involved at the Athletics and Recreation Centre of the campus, particularly in a social media regard, as well as working once again at the Hawk Desk. While tending to his enthusiasm for sports, Scholtz will also be volunteering for the Laurier Students for Literacy program, designed to tutor young students in the Brantford area.
Based on his experience, it’s not necessarily always the most attractive events that make O-Week so memorable.
“Believe it or not, my inside jokes have made my O-Week unbelievable. It’s the little things,” Scholtz states, adding that while most wanted to see Down with Webster concert, he finds that the alternative board game option event is one of his most memorable.
Most important of all, Scholtz has a message to prospective students: “Make sure you come out to events even if they sound the least bit interesting, and find the one thing on campus that you are passionate about.”
Expect to see Scholtz bringing his “surprisingly non-caffeine-driven” enthusiasm to Harmony Square when the four colours face-off for the O-Week title.
“I live on a farm, so there’s not really a name for where I live, but the closest town is Exeter,” says Julie Moore. “I always tell people I live between London and Grand Bend.”
Moore may have grown up a small-town girl, but her heart caters to a large world, where she continues to volunteer around the community and showcase her enthusiasm by “dancing up a storm,” or belting out cheers during Orientation Week.
On her spare time, Moore enjoys spending time with friends, whether it’s something as simple as watching a movie, or more adventurous, such as camping, a personal favourite. This year she hopes to have a chance to rock climb and snowboard.
While not preoccupied with studies or hobbies, Moore tends to her volunteer work, both inside and outside of the campus. This year she will be once again acting as an executive on the Relay for Life events for Laurier, and is also applying to volunteer at the Nova Vita women’s shelter. In years past, Moore has captained the Winter Carnival Team, as well as the Family Counselling Centre of Brant.
“I like to try and participate in most activities on campus and support all types of clubs,” Moore comments. “As long as I don’t have class, or any prior commitments, I’ll be at anything from food bank events to sports fundraisers.”
Moore hopes to spread her enthusiastic and lively personality to the first-years.
“I think having fun in life is the most important thing, and I would like to make sure the first experience incoming students have is as fun as possible, because it can be pretty scary,” Moore says. “Everyone is nervous, even though some people are better at hiding it than others. Just get lost in the O-Week bliss.”
Sports-enthusiastic, optimistic, and supportive are qualities that can vaguely describe what Jacob Barry brings to the table as a Head Icebreaker.
“I can be loud and crazy, but I’m also able to pull it back and be serious if a situation calls for it,” said Barry.
When it is time to kick back, the fourth-year, Concurrent Education student enjoys watching his hometown heroes, the Blue Jays and Maple Leafs, as well as playing rugby, hockey, football, and baseball. Barry, a Zephyr-native, also does what he can to give back to the community and the school of which he is a part of. In the past, he has walked for Foot Patrol, tutored students at the Laurier Students for Literacy program, and worked on the Residence Athletic Council. This year, he will be volunteering for the Food Bank program.
Having already been at Laurier’s Brantford campus for four years, Barry understands that the university experience is something very new to first-year students. Thus, it is important to ease the transition.
“I always strive to make sure our school is a welcoming environment for our new students, allowing them to successfully integrate into our community,” Barry asserted.
Barry also sees the importance of the Orientation Week program as a way to comfort those who it is new to. He shares his thoughts on his own experience.
“My first O-Week as a first year was a huge one,” Barry says. “I didn’t know anyone coming to a new school and it erased all of my fears about this new chapter in my life.”
As for the new students, Barry has a message, “You’ll get out of O-Week what you put into it.” He adds, “But if you come with an open mind, and willingness to step outside of the box, then get ready for the best week of your life!”
Whether it is for the Laurier Students for Literacy program, or the Relay for Life, Michelle devotes much of her time to volunteering for the betterment of the community around her. Entering her fifth year in the concurrent education program, the Kitchener-native is looking to continue helping others by aspiring to teach.
Regarding helping incoming students, Knight says, “I want to inform students about all the great possibilities they have to get involved with at the school.” She adds, “I want to show them that there is something for everyone, and if not, they can make their own club.”
When the snowfall begins each year, Knight returns to some of her favourite hobbies, indulging in the traditional winter activities, including boarding down the slopes and playing hockey. Michelle also considers herself a family-oriented person, and highly approachable.
Knight finds herself involved in volunteer work often enough. For the upcoming 2013-14 school year, she is the Event Chair for Relay for Life, while also devoting her time to the Laurier Students for Literacy program in Brantford. She is also returning for a fourth year as a Gold Team Icebreaker of Orientation Week.
As a person that participates in the programs and activities available to her, Knight would like to encourage the new students to find what they love.
“Get involved!” she emphatically suggests. “You’ll only be here once and you want to make the most of it while you are here for 4-5 years.”
“I don’t really have any interesting hobbies, I like to read and watch movies,” Mente jokingly remarks. “I’ve volunteered for just about every organization on campus.”
During the 2013-14 school year, Mente will be working in the Student Life and Engagement office, organizing the co-curricular records and weekly news. Although it is not a volunteer position, it is an extension of Mente’s history of volunteering all around campus, which includes Foot Patrol, The Sputnik, and two prior Orientation Weeks of being an Icebreaker.
“I’ve gotten pretty comfortable helping new students get their bearings and helping some of the newer volunteers settle into their positions,” says Mente about being an Icebreaker.
The fourth-year journalism student and Northern Ontario native hopes to one day work somewhere overseas, but there is nothing specific set in stone. He is self-described as “overwhelmingly enthusiastic and energetic,” which is highlighted by his hair dyed green, in support of his team.
Just as he has volunteered during his tenure at Laurier Brantford, Mente urges the newcomers to do the same.
“Get involved! I’ll be telling you to incessantly during O-Week as well, so just do it,” Mente once again humourously comments. “Find a club, committee, team, whatever, and go for it. It’ll change your life in the best way possible.”
Meet Annabelle Perston, a Concurrent Education student returning for her fourth stint volunteering at Orientation Week. For her, a large part of the week is creating the new home for the first year students; a second true home.
“I really hope to introduce the first years to a sense of home away from home,” Perston exclaims. “I want them to feel welcome and confident about their next couple of years at Laurier Brantford.”
Like many of her Head Icebreaker colleagues, Perston has been involved with the Laurier Students for Literacy program in the city. She has also volunteered for Relay for Life as well as the Peer Helpline. Outside of the Laurier confines, Perston runs a children’s youth night.
The Waterloo-native, upon graduation, would like to globe trot, and if possible, teach abroad for two years, having already taught in Kenya this summer, as part of her Nippissing placement. She may hold it in her future to be headed abroad in the next few years, but she is still trying to express her love for Laurier while studying in Brantford.
“As an Icebreaker, I try and share my great love for being a Laurier Golden Hawk, especially as part of the Brantford campus,” says Perston.
Perston has a simplistic, yet encouraging message to the newcomers: “Step outside of your comfort zone, and enjoy this week as best as you can,” she says. “It will truly help you enjoy and learn, and make your years at Laurier Brantford great.”
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