Connecting Students, Welcoming New Residents, and Showcasing Durham

The Impact of Post-Secondary Orientation Activities in September

September marks the beginning of a new chapter for countless students across the Durham Region. It’s a time of transition, adventure, and new beginnings. This is a week of firsts for students – the first time leaving home, being away from family and friends – and this can come with both excitement and anxieties as students embark on their personal journey. The supports available through each of the three Post-Secondary Institutions (PSIs) in the Durham Region play a vital role in bolstering this important transition. However, orientation week is not just about easing students into college or university life; it’s a vibrant and multifaceted event that engages businesses, welcomes potential new residents, and showcases the best that the Durham Region has to offer.

One of the most significant impacts of post-secondary orientation activities in the Durham Region is the opportunity they provide for local businesses to engage with the student population. During orientation week, businesses, ranging from cafes to bookstores and transportation services, collaborate with colleges and universities to offer exclusive deals, discounts, and special promotions. This not only helps students save money but also drives business and supports the local economy. In turn, local businesses recognize the value of this annual event and actively participate, making it a win-win for both students and the community.

For many students, especially those coming from outside the Durham Region or even international students, orientation week is their first introduction to their new home. The warm and inviting atmosphere created during these events helps them feel welcome and appreciated in their new community. Local organizations, both non-profit and government, often use this opportunity to reach out to students, offering resources and information that can help them settle into the region seamlessly. Whether it’s providing guidance on housing, transportation, or entertainment options, these services show students that they are not just attendees; they are potential new residents who are encouraged to make the Durham Region their home.

The orientation activities during September do not just cater to students’ needs – they also serve as a platform to showcase the beauty, culture, and opportunities that the Durham Region has to offer. Campus tours, city explorations, and cultural events often feature prominently on the agenda. These events are carefully designed to give students a taste of what life in Durham can be like beyond their academic pursuits. They visit local attractions, parks, marinas, harbor fronts, and businesses, enhancing their appreciation for the region’s diversity and charm. It’s a fantastic way to entice students to explore and invest in the Durham community.

As mentioned earlier, the transition to post-secondary education often comes with mixed emotions, including excitement and anxiety. The supports available through the PSIs are essential in helping students navigate this change. This includes counseling services, academic advising, mentorship programs, and clubs or organizations designed to help students connect with like-minded peers. The orientation activities serve as an introduction to these resources, helping students understand that they have a strong support system in place to guide them through their academic journey.

Post-secondary orientation activities in the Durham Region play a vital role in connecting students, welcoming potential new residents, and showcasing the best of what the region has to offer. They not only benefit the students but also the local businesses, the community, and the region as a whole. These events create a sense of belonging, encourage exploration, and help students transition into a new and exciting phase of their lives. As the Durham Region continues to thrive and expand its educational offerings, the impact of these orientation activities becomes increasingly significant, making them a highlight in the calendar for both students and the community.


– Kevin Maina, Manager, Community Engagement, Trent University