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By Cliff Lee

The purple-chested, helmet-wearing engineers will still gather on Gould Street and parade with Eggy the Ram and other Ryerson students down Yonge Street, but any parader marching towards the ferry docks should think again.

This year, after 46 years, the annual parade and picnic won’t take place on Olympic Island. Instead, students will veer right at Union Station and head towards Historic Fort York to kick-off some new traditions.

“The island was very limiting in what we can do,” says Cristina Ribeiro, RyeSAC’s vice president student life and events. “At Fort York, there’ll be more bands, more DJs, and more diversity of music. Instead of being kicked off at four or five p.m., we can party all night long,” she says.

Ribeiro has spent the summer planning RyeSAC’s fall events, including frosh week, the week of welcome, and the fourty-seventh annual parade and picnic. Armed with a student events budget that’s 25 per cent larger than last year’s – about $240,000 – the new look of the parade and picnic is just one of the changes she has in store for students this September.

This year, while frosh are having a sex talk with sexpert Sue Johanson, or getting down at the Much Video Dance party, they should keep in mind that they’re participating in what no Ryerson frosh has seen before: an entire week of frosh events.

This marks the first year RyeSAC is organizing a school-wide welcome for first year students. “We wanted to tap into the untapped school spirit here at Ryerson,” says Ribeiro.

Given Ryerson’s spotty record of school spirit, she was surprised at the response from older students wanting to volunteer as frosh leaders: over 200 students registered on the RyeSAC website to fill the 80 spots.

These leaders will have their hands full with nearly 700 frosh who have also registered. All frosh are invited to come take part in daytime activities between Aug. 30 and Sept. 3. “They’re all about building pride and spirit,” says Ribeiro of the free car races, scavenger hunt, and slip’n’slide events.

For $30, students can buy a frosh kit that equips them with tickets to Tuesday night’s video dance, The Second City comedy club on Wednesday, and a seat at Skydome when the Blue Jays take on the Seattle Mariners.

Friday night will cap off the week with an exclusive Ryerson night at the Docks nightclub Sept. 3. Returning students can get their dose of change too when the Week of Welcome kicks off during the first week of school.

There will still be the launch party, campus carnival, and campus groups day. But there won’t be any partying in the streets this September. Construction of the new Student Campus Centre makes it impossible to close off Gould and Victoria streets, like in past years.

Roadside events, like campus groups day, will be moved to the quad instead.

Finally, two weeks of partying is capped off by the Fort York edition of the parade and picnic Sep. 10. Not only is it a different venue, but there’ll also be different food. Ribeiro says getting off the island meant they had more catering options. She predicts food prices will range between three and five dollars.

Partyers who make the trek to Fort York can expect to hear the sounds of Canadian rocker Matthew Good, “one of the biggest headliners we’ve had at Ryerson,” according to Ribeiro.

Good will be supported by up-and-comers Stabilo, Popjoy, and Bless. And lest it be forgotten: “there will definitely be at least one huge beer garden,” says Ribeiro.

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