UWSA launches Roll Call 2015

Back to school festival to celebrate community and diversity

Graphic provided by the UWSA.

With the beginning of classes quickly approaching, the University of Winnipeg is gearing up to host the newly revamped Roll Call 2015 – a fresh take on the student orientation event formerly known as “O-Week.”

The name change is reflective of the difference between this back-to-school festival and others around the world that also use the “O-Week” branding.

“Roll Call is a celebration of community, and a reflection of our values as a students’ association. Promoting consent culture through specialized volunteer training and activities, acknowledging our presence on Treaty One territory by opening with a drum ceremony, and featuring local artisans at an outdoor marketplace highlights our commitment to equity and inclusion,” explained Peyton Veitch, president of the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association (UWSA).

The three-day celebration starts Sept. 9 on the U of W’s front lawn and will include a number of diverse local acts. Attendees can expect performances from headliners Royal Canoe and TR/ST, as well as other local talents like Micah Visser and the Catamounts.

“Our headliners, Royal Canoe and TR/ST, are fantastic local and Canadian bands, respectively, and will put on a great show. I’m also looking forward to hearing isKwé perform. She’s a young indigenous artist who writes songs about socially relevant themes including missing and murdered women,” said Veitch.

In addition to the music, the event will feature a bike sale hosted by the WRENCH, selling excellent reconditioned bikes, and a marketplace showcasing local businesses and local makers’ work.

The UWSA has also provided a Blue Tent for the duration of Roll Call: a visual representation of their Positive Space Policy where students who need a break or a resource can visit and take some time. The tent will be run by volunteers with crisis management training.

“This year we focused on incorporating our advocacy work into the event. We want to welcome new and returning students back to campus, but we also want to let students know about the campaigns and supports we are working on to improve campus life,” said UWSA events coordinator Denae Penner.

“On Wednesday, we are hosting a Consent Tea Tent to talk about consent culture and the University of Winnipeg Sexual Misconduct policy. We focused on curating a schedule of musicians that reflected diversity.”

The student union’s executive and the board of directors will be available throughout the event, volunteering and speaking with students. A “food passport” will be an incentive for students to engage with their union, offering free lunch from the campus service, Diversity Foods, in return. The passport, available from UWSA members in limited quantity, grants students a free meal from a food truck present on campus each day of Roll Call, in exchange for the student performing one activity listed on the passport itself.

The Student Group Fair will allow attendees to explore different groups on campus as well.

“I hope Roll Call is an opportunity for students to have fun and make new friends and sets a positive tone for a year filled with progressive change,” said Veitch.

Roll Call 2015 takes place from Sept. 9-11 on U of W’s front lawn (515 Portage Avenue). Events are free for U of W students and community member tickets are available at Music Trader, The Urban Bakery, or the UWSA Info Booth for $20. For more information, visit http://theuwsa.ca/rollcall/