Your new automatic friends
“The presence of Sophs with great pride in not only their faculty, or specific residence, but within the Western community as a whole felt very welcoming and [I felt] as though for my first year I would not be alone.”OWeek 2018 Survey
Sophs are Western’s beloved orientation leaders who help welcome new students and provide an orientation to campus life. Sophs volunteer their time as spirit leaders, role models, and campus guides to help promote personal wellness, encourage participation in a variety of campus community building events, and positively connect new students to the University’s social environment and its academic resources.
Sophs are an important part of students’ OWeek experience. In the OWeek 2018 Survey, students indicated that the relationships built with their Sophs, the relationships Sophs helped facilitate, and the knowledge the Sophs possess were some of the most helpful and enjoyable aspects of OWeek. Students reported that their Sophs made them feel safe, supported, and welcomed at Western. The impact that Sophs have on first-year students lasts throughout the entire year.
Sophs are super spirited and become like the siblings you never had. Their pride for the Western experience has granted them the role to be that connecting link for students starting on move-in day. Sophs role model strong academic achievement, promote healthy lifestyles and experiences that foster personal development and support a diverse population of students in their transition from home to University life.
After Orientation Week, Sophs transition to a yearlong support role for new students. This support role includes regular contact with first year students, participation in programming events, and referring students to campus and community resources.
In a sentence, Sophs are meant to be the easiest friend one could make, and the hardest to let go.
Residence Sophs are upper year, undergraduate students that volunteer to live in Residence as mentors for incoming students. Their primary function is to act as emotional and social supports for students, as well as redirect them to appropriate resources when needed. Residence Soph teams undergo training that equips them to fulfill these duties, while managing their own personal and academic requirements. They spend ample time engaging in team building activities and forming meaningful relationships with each other in order to form a cohesive unit. In turn, they foster an inclusive and welcoming environment, rich in culture and tradition, for incoming students in their respective buildings.
Faculty Sophs are there to support incoming students in their academic transition into Western. As preparation for their role, Faculty Sophs are given training to understand the specific academic resources that incoming students may need. Their training makes them great people to approach if incoming students are ever struggling academically or advice about academic resources. Faculty Sophs are also in the same faculty as the incoming students they are paired with. This gives them a better ability to speak from first-hand experience about the courses and resources the incoming students have questions about.
Off-Campus (OC) Sophs are there to support students living Off-Campus as they transition into Western. We recognize that Off-Campus students have a different set of needs that those living in residence, and the OC Soph team is there to specifically address that. OC Sophs are your first friends on campus and are there to help you meet other incoming students living in the London Community. If an incoming student has questions through the year about wellness resources or ways to get involved as a student living Off-Campus, the OC Sophs are the ones to ask.
Affiliate Sophs (Huron, Brescia, and King’s) are mentors for incoming students at the Affiliated University Colleges. Affiliate Sophs are both Residence and Faculty Sophs in that they support students emotionally and socially as well as academically. They receive Affiliate specific training and are prepped with all resources on both Main Campus at Western University and at the respective Affiliate University College. Like all sophs they are primarily a resource for students to go to when struggling with anything and are tasked with ensuring that students transition with ease and effectiveness.
Charity Sophs are responsible for planning, executing, and promoting philanthropic events for incoming students and Sophs. Their goal is to empower students to volunteer with local organizations and participate in the London community. Charity Sophs are paired with each constituency (Residence, Faculty, Affiliate College, OC) rather than incoming students. They are a great resource for students looking to get involved in London.