Stopping Traffic: RSU’s Parade and Picnic

With Orientation Week finished and classes beginning, one thing that tends to stick out in people’s minds is the level of enthusiasm that participants showed during the events. Besides the groups of people cheering until their vocal chords wear out, there’s just an aura of happiness that seems to swallow you up. Having never experienced the RSU’s Parade and Picnic before, I was surprised to see that the enthusiasm in events prior had been multiplied by roughly a thousand.

It’s a winning formula: get some performers (Girl Talk, K’Naan, The Cliks), put on a concert on Toronto Island, have a parade walking down Yonge Street, have food and drink, and perhaps most importantly, make it all free. The parade itself was well-represented by the various Ryerson Course Unions, whose cheers reminded downtown Toronto of Ryerson’s presence after the red carpets of TIFF have long since  rolled up. While such continued enthusiasm through two weeks (both Residence Orientation and RSU’s Week of Welcome) might suggest either ungodly stamina or heavy use of coffee, Scaachi Koul, a second-year journalism student, informed me otherwise:

“I’m high on the caffeine of school spirit!” Koul informed me, clapping noisemakers and blowing on a whistle. The spirit must have been contagious, as the parade down Yonge was marked by applause for truck drivers who honked their horns and numerous attempts at “the wave”. With parade marshals keeping the mass of people on track, the parade was a success; there was something infectious about just being there, accompanying that crowd. Like many other orientation events, enthusiasm just seems to rub off from person to person; while that’s probably an intended effect, it works to the advantage of the crowd, and makes sure that events like this keep happening in the future.