Frost Weeks in the past have traditionally been about events welcoming students back to the university after a long break, complete with concerts, parties and other social events. Of Gentleman and Cowards, residence parties with unlimited pizzas, outdoor skating, Arkells, Frost Fest and Alessia Cara were just a few examples of what was featured over the years.
2017’s Frost Week had a notable change in priority. Shaarujaa Nadarajah, vice-president (Administration) at the time, noted, “We will fill the week with a variety of events so there is something for every type of student to enjoy”. Frost Fest and outdoor skating continued. Events like Faculty Nights, RepFest, the Student Wellness Centre and the McMaster Student Leadership Conference were given increased priority.
This year’s complete rebrand to Life After Mac is self-explanatory as it focuses on students thinking about life after McMaster. A toast to your final semester at McMaster, a showcase of the Student Success Centre and information about grad school, the Mac Alumni services and career opportunities are all part of the events and programs.
While the focus on an underrepresented section of students is appreciated, especially given Welcome Week’s focus on new students and the introduction of Light Up the Night in 2015 as a social event later in the year, a few things should be tuned up for next time.
This pivot to graduating students has left a large number of clubs and services in an odd position with the lack of ClubsFest II that typically takes place during the week. An opportunity to engage the student body, show off what people are doing around campus and get interest for new volunteers during the second semester is gone.
While its removal makes sense with the focus of the week, ClubsFest II does not necessarily need to be during Frost Week. The scheduling in 2013 put Frost Week from Jan. 9 to Jan. 13 and ClubsFest II on Jan. 28, though this had some interference with the McMaster Students Union presidential election that ended on Jan. 31. At the time of writing, it is currently not scheduled to take place at all this year.
The absence of events for a significant portion of the student population leaves a similar issue that some of the previous years had. Life After Mac itself caters to a very narrow audience.
There is little provided for students who are not yet thinking about their lives after McMaster, students who simply are not interested in social events or comedy by Hasan Minhaj and students who have already considered their lives after McMaster. Being so relatively late in the year also means that a good portion of students who are graduating simply will not find the resources useful as they have likely thought extensively about their lives after McMaster already.
That being said, other events running independently of this such as Diversity Week and the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance’s #TextbookBroke campaign do not appear to be splitting the focus of the McMaster Students Union enough to detract from each. Both are good causes, and both would likely be less effective if done during presidentials.
The Life After Mac rebrand is a good idea given how few events are given nearly as much emphasis for graduating students. It is questionable to do this late in the year and as a niche replacement to the old Frost Week that catered to more of the student body. It is a good first step that needs a bit of adjusting to actually be effective.