Arts & Entertainment Editor
The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) hopes frosh week activities this year will be the most inclusive and diverse the school has ever seen.
“We have a lot of changes going on this year. We want to make the events open to everyone,” says Alam Ashraful, RSU’s vice president student life and events. “Sure, we have rock groups like Cuff the Duke, but we also have the Bhangra reggae group Funkadesi, African rapper K’naan, and the Latin American jazz group Chiva. Plus, our big headliner is Metric, for the more mainstream rock fans.”
Ashraful has spent most of the summer preparing for the week, which runs Sept. 6 to 9, especially concentrating on the 48th annual parade and picnic, which will end at Olympic Island while international chart-toppers Metric perform.
“We wanted to head back to the Island this year, more people are excited about it,” says Ashraful of the decision to return to the venue after last year’s outing at Historic Fort York. “Getting Metric wasn’t easy at first, but we were persistent and eventually we won them over. They’re a phenomenal act to have, and Cuff the Duke was also a popular choice among students.”
All first-years are welcome to participate in the events, which also includes a comedy night and an evening of slam poetry. Ashraful is especially proud of bringing the poetry sessions to Ryerson, which he explained would be a great step towards increasing activism and community participation among Ryerson students.
“It is a more political event, where poets deal with issues of war, poverty, and the current news of today,” says Ashraful.
Not making a return this year, however, is the popular XXX-hypnotist Tony Lee, who, according to Ashraful, caused too many complaints and controversy at last year’s performances.
“We got calls from people who were not happy with his depiction of sexuality. Plus, this year we got another hypnotist who cost much less money,” says Ashraful, who also said that expensive past performers and speakers, such as Kevin Smith and Spike Lee, were also out this year.
“We don’t need to have American entertainment, to spend $80,000 when we can have Canadian performers for only $5,000.”
While most students entering first-year will be only 17 or 18 years-old, RSU has enacted a wristband policy at several events in order to provide alcohol, while not denying underage students from participating.
“That’s the main thing we want to stress this year, to make sure all of our events are welcoming and open to anyone and everyone here at Ryerson,” says Ashraful.
Plus, just in case returning students have forgotten: there is no academic penalty for missing class during the parade and picnic, which will start at noon on Sept. 9.
“We’re aware a lot of students coming in are underage, but still want to be part of the week,” says Ashraful, who plans to make the comedy and poetry nights a monthly event. “We don’t want to exclude anyone, we want everyone to have fun.”