A Great Start to a Great Year
LAUNCH 2013 opens academic year with purposeful fun and games
3 min. read
September 4, 2013

More than 200 new students were welcomed to campus this week for the start of Redeemer’s 32nd academic year. Although students moved in on Labour Day, the planning for the start of the year has already been ongoing for months. Redeemer’s staff and student orientation leaders have planned many events to ensure that the start of the academic year is exciting, fun and helps students with the transition to this new stage of life. At Redeemer, orientation week activities are called LAUNCH. At its core, the LAUNCH Program seeks to build a sense of belonging among incoming students and to provide them opportunities to participate in the new community of which they are now a part. “There is a reason why Redeemer is putting so much effort into planning these events,” says Micah van Dijk, Redeemer’s Activities & Orientation Coordinator. “One’s sense of belonging affects the over-all success at university, including academic success. We want students to feel at home, make friends, and get involved.” This involvement is all done through two paths, one of which is service. For example, students are given the opportunity to get involved in the Hamilton community through the Volunteer Fair. Various organizations and churches set up displays in the Commons, giving student the chance to connect with – and find out how to help – community groups. The other path that LAUNCH uses to involve and welcome students is through a liberal use of fun. First year students and their upper class leaders engage in all sorts of activities, from campus scavenger hunts to pizza parties to times of worship to the LAUNCH Olympics, all of which are designed to introduce students to Redeemer and to each other. Dr. Joustra and Prof. Beldman are inducted into Redeemer’s facultyOpening Convocation is considered the official start of the academic year. During the ceremony, the Redeemer community prays for a blessing for the year, and dedicates the learning, research and service that it does to the glory of God. As part of the ceremony, Dr. Syd Hielema, Redeemer’s Chaplain, offers a blessing to all the first year students, and he and President Krygsman formally induct new full-time professors to the faculty. This year, Redeemer welcomed David Beldman, Sessional Assistant Professor of Religion and Theology, Dr. Robert Joustra, Sessional Assistant Professor of International Studies and Dr. Joel Klinck, Assistant Professor of Biology. President Krygsman’s Convocation Address was entitled “Roots, Fruits and the Tree of Life.” Speaking from Psalm 1, Colossians 2 and Revelation 22, Dr. Krygsman explained how, as a community, “our roots determine our fruit.” By being rooted in Christ, the Tree of Life, we will all bear fruit that is pleasing to God and which serves Him and His creation. “We’re not all the same fruit,” he noted, “but our common rootedness allows us all to blossom, to flourish, each to his own kind.” The staff, students and faculty of Redeemer covet our support community’s prayers as we carry on this Kingdom-building “garden work.”

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