Many students are taking their classes online from different provinces, countries, and even continents, meaning that there will be a significant decrease in the number of events provided this year. Although there will only be a few events, the Student Union plans to make them as entertaining as possible.

“Our goal as the Student Union is to provide exciting events to students regardless of their location,” said VP Student Life Vishnu Vardhan.

Vardhan says that the SU is monitoring the changes brought about by COVID-19 and will program events accordingly. He maintained that student safety is the top priority but hopes that New Brunswick’s situation will improve enough to allow in-person events.  

Vardhan explained that the plans set in place for events are extremely flexible and can be changed to reflect changes in phases. The regularly scheduled winter semester programming such as the Winter Carnival, Red Awards, etc. will be planned with alternatives readily available in case of a phase-change.

It is unclear whether there will be any new events, but Vardhan promises that a few regular events will be coming back this year, including Sex Week, Red N’ Black Revue Variety Show, Red Awards, and Winter Carnival.

The Director of Campus Events has been officially hired by the Student Union and will be working with them to create exciting and meaningful programming for students this winter.

“It has been a very challenging year for students, but we are very committed to creating the best possible experience for them,” he added.

Winter orientation, an event organized by the International Student Advisor’s Office (ISAO), is for new international students who arrived in Fredericton and started classes at UNB in January. 

This year’s winter orientation will be delivered virtually to ensure higher attendance and has been broken down into a five-day series of info sessions with a social event on the last day. All the orientation sessions will be delivered on Microsoft Teams, taking place from January 5 to January 10.

“We encourage all our new students, whether they are in Canada already or studying remotely this term, to attend and learn about the essentials to help them navigate their academic years at UNB,” explained Hillary Nguyen, an International Student Advisor at UNB. 

These sessions will include an immigration session, student services orientation, international insurance information session, and a virtual social event. The social event will feature a video series showcasing local spots and the most highlighted locations in downtown Fredericton. The ISAO partnered with St. Thomas University and the City of Fredericton last summer to shoot these videos.

There will be mini break-out sessions where the students will be split into smaller groups to connect and meet others, as well as mini games, the winners of which will get a $100 tuition credit prize each. To end orientation, a panel partly made up of SU and GSA executive members will be available to answer any questions the students might have.

Due to the unpredictability of the province’s phases, most plans for winter semester are unsure as of yet, but the SU will provide more information as the semester progresses.