A Review of X-Fest 2018


Headphone Disco, Jell-O Slide among many successful events on campus

It’s the most wonderful time  of the year here at StFX as we welcome the incoming class of 2022 and all of our returning upper year students. This year’s theme for Welcome Week is X-Fest 2018, a jam packed week of incredible events. Orchestrated by the StFX Student’s Union, X-Fest featured highlight events such as Headphone Disco, Playfair, Not Your Grandma’s Bingo, X Factor, the X-Fest concert, and last but certainly not least, Shinerama!

Day 1 – Welcome Day. The day many of our first year students have been anticipating, as it is both their first step of the university experience and possibly their first time living away from home. Welcomed as soon as they drove onto campus by the hype committee of O-Crew, new students began to line up for their registration into residence, unless of course they ran through the Welcome Tunnel first.  From there, students and their parents began to unpack at their respective residences with the help of some of our  X-Men football players and  O-Crew members at each residence. At 2pm the President’s  Welcome began, featuring speakers from our Board of  Governors, and closing off as usual with StFX’s president, Dr. Kent MacDonald. After returning to residence for some introductions with their Community Advisors and peers to discuss important residence information, first year students then met at the auxiliary ice surface in the Keating Millennium Center (KMC) for the Welcome BBQ. With full stomachs and a brief break, O-Crew members then gathered many first year students to attend the first main event, the Carnival! Returning for its second appearance, the Carnival is a favorite amongst students new and old. There is something to suit everyone’s interests at this diverse event. Students could enjoy various carnival style games, snack on popcorn and sweets, dance to the beat of the DJ, relax in several lounging  areas, and even be taken back to their childhood days in a huge ball pit. With such an inclusive and well-rounded event, day one of life at StFX came to a close. 

Day 2 – Pancake Breakfast! To those students who forget to set their alarms, O-Crew had them covered. The infamous Pan-cake Break-fast cheers flooded the halls of each residence bright and early to start off day two; who doesn’t like a delicious pancake breakfast? With the first year students filling the stands of the KMC, StFX was pleased to have Roz Kelsey of the Man Up initiative give her talk about sexual assault and safety. Following the eye-opening presentation, a panel of community members who specialize in sexual violence        prevention and rehabilitation took the stand to answer questions asked by students anonymously over text message. The panel provided students with answers to very important questions concerning sexual  violence that are invaluable tools to know should a case of sexual violence affect themselves or someone they know.  To lighten the mood from such a deep discussion, students were guided to the rugby field  in front of Bishops Hall to begin  X Games. Organized by the  Run N’ Gun committee of O-  Crew, X  Games  kicked  off  with a mass game of freeze tag before featuring an array of activities from egg/water balloon  toss, dodgeball, and many other creative field games. Following X Games, students joined together with their residence groups to run over to the main field for the class-wide X photo.  Entering the field through a tunnel of O-Crew members, first year students were organized into a large X in the center of the field for the annual photo. What followed was the residence cheer off, where students cheered loud and proud for their new residences in  hopes to be dubbed the winner of the competition. Ultimately,  Fraser house took the title of champion, and meanwhile O- Crew ran back to the rugby field to set up our most unique Welcome Week activity, the Jell-O Slide. The premise is simple: hold a tarp on a small hill, fill it with water and soap to make it slippery, and add  Jell-O, because what other  university has a Jell-O Slide? Soon after, students formed a line that would rival any line at Disney World just to slide down our Jell-O Slide. One by one, students had their chance to experience the unique slide for themselves until physics conquered, and tarps broke. Both tarps ripped open a handful of time until O-Crew could no  longer use them, but after a short wait new tarps were brought in and the Jell-O slid  on. Following the Jell-O Slide, there were a couple events held in residence, which were followed by yet another unique take on a classic event, Headphone Disco. Gone were the  ear-numbing beats of a traditional DJ, and in were... headphones. Students walked in the Mackay room confused at the relative silence of such a large dance party until they put on the headphones themselves. The headphones featured  three channels: blue, red, and green. Blue mostly had EDM music, red featured hip-hop, and last but not least, green  played smooth jazz. As more and more students arrived, it became a battle between blue and red, with the DJ duo on stage each controlling one of the colours to curate the best set of music. Students danced to whichever channel suited their tastes, singing along with the music and personalizing their experience at such a  unique event. The best part of the event was when the headphone came off, students could hold a conversation to get to know others, and likely discuss the pure comedy of witnessing so many people dance to silence.

Day 3 – Academic Day. By this point, first year students may be forgetting the  fact that they are indeed, students. Enter academic day. Beginning with two different sessions, incoming students were acquainted with important information concerning their degrees as well as getting the chance to meet many other students that were in the same program. After a short break for lunch, students were encouraged to attend the faculty social, where over 80 faculty members as well as plenty of experienced upper years students were in attendance to share their knowledge of the classes in their respective programs and tips on student life.  For those students who attended both events, their names were filled out on a ballot to win one of two Apple iWatches! Students walked away from the event with important knowledge to remember in  their studies, and two lucky students had some new wrist wear as well. At 6pm, students made their way to the University Chapel to take part in the Xaverian Welcome. This event is the first of many traditional ceremonies that are held at StFX each year, which include  such events as house banquets, sports banquets, graduation and the Xaverian Farewell, and this little thing called X-Ring.  While the Xaverian Welcome may seem bizarre at first, it all comes full circle at the Xaverian Farewell, the culmination of  a student’s time at StFX. To  get students back on their feet after sitting in the chapel for so long, Playfair takes the stage as  the final event of day 3. First  year students enter the KMC through a long tunnel of O-Crew members and join in to  form an even longer tunnel of O-Crew and first years. Shortly after, students dispersed into  smaller groups to partake in the many ice breaker games that are the staple of Playfair. Just as Playfair came to a close, the first year students and O-Crew members were asked to sit alongside the wall furthest from the stage. It’s Flash Mob time! Prior to, and throughout Welcome Week, O-Crew hid themselves away on campus to practice a flash mob for the first year students. The dance began with the O- Crew executives leading their part, and shortly after all of O-Crew came running onto the floor to take part in the dance. Once the surprise was finished, day 3 drew to an end.

Day 4 – First Day of Classes. The day we’ve all been waiting for! Incoming and returning students roam the campus, searching for classrooms new and old to begin their year of studies. For first year off-campus students, there was an event at the Golden X Inn specifically for them to discuss services available to off-campus students as well as to meet their peers. Following various events held in residence, the evening capped off with Not Your Grandma’s Bingo, an educational sex toy bingo where students learned safe-sex trivia and what proper consent looks like. This event was a resounding success. The attendance was incredible and the energy of the room was certainly greater than that of your grandma’s bingo.

Day 5 – X Factor. The second day of classes for students was a relatively quiet day for Welcome Week. There were free money and budgeting sessions held in Morrison Hall and the Wellspring centre throughout the day, an outdoor movie night held in the MSB courtyard, and finally the talent show, X Factor, held in the KMC. The event featured many group performances, interspersed with  some amazing solo and duo acts which showcased the talent of our incoming class of 2022.

Day 6 – Society Night. Yet another busy day of activities that were held in residence, the third day of classes included sessions on stress management, consent, positive space training, as well as Reslife karaoke. The Tastes of the World dinner which was slated to be held outside the KMC was moved to the Mackay room due to the rain, although things got on without a hitch. Students were able to sample a diverse range of foods unlike what they may typically eat here in Nova Scotia while a group of incredibly talented dancers showcased their talents and taught students the dances as well.  Finally, Society Night was held at the KMC for all students to attend. With such a vast selection of societies, there is sure  to be something to suit everyone’s taste.

Day 7 – X-Fest Concert. It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for our headline show, the X-Fest Concert! The event featured some of our very own talent from students Matt McGlashan (FDM) and Thomas Shelby (DJ Babz) along with our headliners, DJ Goliath, Waves, and Felix Cartal. The dance took place in the evening with students of all years joining the fun all the way until the doors closed at 12:30am. Before the concert began, students had the opportunity to attend the LGBTQIA2S+ BBQ to hear from the president of the X-Pride committee, Robert  Chatterton, and our Gender and Sexual Diversity Advisor, Bre O’Handley. Featuring some beautiful student performances, the event served to foster the positive and inclusive environment that is promoted on  campus.

Day 8 – SHINERAMA . If first year students thought waking up for the pancake breakfast was rough, O-Crew proved them wrong. Just before 8am O-Crew flooded the halls of each residence armed with whatever loud noise they could muster. From yelling and cheering, to a lifeguard whistle, and even a saxophone, students were woken up to attend Canada’s largest post-secondary fundraiser, Shinerama. Beginning with a quick breakfast, students heard talks from the Shinerama executives of O-Crew, as well as Rachael Turner, a fourth year student who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, and the mother of an incoming student who also has CF. Shinerama is a fundraising campaign to find a cure for, and provide aid to those affected by  cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that effects the ability of the lungs to remove mucous build up. This results in difficulty breathing, as well as several digestive issues, and lastly a multitude of medicaments and physiotherapy techniques must be undergone to treat the disease. These talks serve to give purpose and perspective to the first year students in their fundraising efforts, as CF is a cause that is close to home at StFX. Following the speeches, students were assigned to one of many fundraising sites all across town, and some even had the opportunity to get on a bus to fundraise in New Glasgow. Students fundraised and spread awareness for cystic fibrosis from 9-1pm, raising approximately $25 000 for Shinerama 2018! And with that,  Welcome Week came to a close.  To  all  first  year  and  returning students, there are no better words than this: Welcome Home.