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We’re here to help

As you get ready for University, we know you’ll probably have a lot of questions. To make it easier, we’ve put together some of our most frequently asked questions regarding Welcome Week, MacPass, and MacQuest.

Welcome Week

Welcome Week is designed to ease your transition to academic and campus life at McMaster University and to set you up for a successful first year in university.  The week includes an array of social, cultural, athletic and academic activities that showcase the range of services, supports, and opportunities available to undergraduate students.  Get engaged in university life and participate in events and programs designed to help connect you with your Faculty and professors, residence hall community or off-campus society, the Hamilton community and, most importantly, other students.

Plus, you pay for your MacPass and the #MacWW2017 experience through a mandatory Orientation Fee.  Participation in Welcome Week enables you to get the fullest value out of this fee.

Orientation to a new place and new community helps you to begin developing the relationships to friends, mentors, faculty, and staff that will allow you to thrive – personally, academically, and socially – during your time at the University.

To be specific, Welcome Week accomplishes this orientation by helping students:

  • Make connections with people – staff, faculty, student leaders, peers – from whom first year students can seek advice and support
  • Feel they belong in their academic program, their faculty society, their living community, and amongst their peers
  • Start the year with an awareness of key offices and services where they can get involved, get advice, and get support
  • Know they have a right to and are supported in being physically and emotionally safe at university
  • Meet and connect with student leaders, who are positive role models

You can look forward to being introduced to long-standing McMaster traditions including the McMaster Welcome, Air Bands, and PJ Parade, participating in an expansive array of social, cultural and athletic activities, meeting University leaders, enjoying exclusive concerts, and having countless opportunities to meet new friends who share with you the same interests, faculty, program, and on- or off-campus community. In a nutshell, you can look forward to a whole lot of excitement.

#MacWW2017 takes place from Saturday, August 26 until Saturday, September 2. Events begin at 10:00 a.m. the earliest and will wrap up around 11:00 p.m. Excepting meal times, it is typical for multiple programs and activities to be taking place simultaneously; however, Welcome Week Reps are available to help you decide when and where to participate.

Welcome Week activities are designed to establish connections between McMaster first year students, and are funded by a mandatory Orientation Levy paid by first year students; this means that no outside guests can attend McMaster’s programs and events during Welcome Week.

Yes – for first year, first time McMaster Students ONLY who registered and picked up their MacPass. You must show your MacPass wristband at point of entry for concerts and events.

We encourage you to attend the events and programs that you are most interested in throughout Welcome Week. A variety of programs and events have been developed to engage students and provide you with opportunities to make connections to the university and your peers.

For almost all Welcome Week events, all you need is your MacPass.

You will be notified by the event organizer if a Welcome Week event requires pre-registration.

Incoming students are invited to participate in these other events and programs:

  • The SOAR (Summer Orientation for Academic Readiness) program is a fully online program that helps students make the academic transition to university academic expectations.  The program includes videos, interviews and live chats, as well as blog posts written by faculty members, campus leaders and McMaster students. SOAR starts Monday, July 18 and continues for four weeks. Themes and topics change weekly.
  •  The Common Reading Program helps students connect their own experiences, their own experiences, and facets of university life. Receive a free book, participate in activities taking place throughout the fall semester, and meet the author at our on-campus events!
  • Clubsfest occurs twice every year. With over 300+ clubs available, Clubsfest is your opportunity to find out how to get involved on campus.
  • Collect cool posters and items for your residence by checking out our Sidewalk Sale.
  • More information about orientation after Welcome Week coming soon!

Leading up to Welcome Week, if you’re nervous about the transition, the Student Success Centre offers free MacAdemics 101 sessions alongside the Summer Orientation for Academic Readiness (SOAR) program. These workshops can help you prepare for your first classes and for university expectations. You can learn more about how to prepare on Student Success Centre website or by signing up for MacAdemics 101 on OSCARplus.

There are no classes during Welcome Week, so we encourage you to use the time to get familiar with where your classes will take place. Programming related to academics is built into the Welcome Week schedule, particularly Macademics sessions and your Faculty Day.  You can also reach out to your own faculty reps to ask where things are, learn our campus secrets, and exchange stories about their first year experiences.

There are three events that are specific to your Faculty:

  • Faculty Day: A fun morning and afternoon dedicated to meeting people in your program and learning more about your Faculty.
  • Faculty Fest: A mini festival for to learn about involvement opportunities within your Faculty society with an integrated academic portion as well.
  • Faculty Night: A social with a unique location specific to your Faculty. Join to interact with students and reps from your Faculty in a fun setting.

They are our Welcome Week Reps: upper year students who have volunteered to help welcome and support you!

Regardless of where you live or of what faculty you are a part, Welcome Week Reps will be happy to answer your questions, point you in the right direction, and share their knowledge and insight about life at McMaster.

McMaster is a welcoming and inclusive environment and composed of a diverse range of students, staff, and faculty. With over 100 Welcome Week events of varying size and scope, we aim to have something for everyone and to help bring students together.

Welcome Week Reps and Community Advisors are selected and trained to draw connections between you and your peers; these student leaders are also aware that some first year students will be energized by Welcome Week activities, while others will at times feel drained – both of which are completely normal responses given the programming offered during #MacWW2017.

While it may take more than a week to find and develop the inevitable friendships that will last a lifetime, the vast majority of students who participate in Welcome Week begin the academic year indicating a sense of belonging at McMaster.

Finally, Welcome Week programming is focusing on three core commitments to ensure our community remains safe and inclusive: promoting mental health and mental wellness; preventing and responding to gender-based violence; and encouraging responsible drinking. You can read more about these commitments on our strategic priorities page.


The MacPass is your “all-access pass” to the events and programs taking place during Welcome Week (i.e. concerts, faculty events, MacAdemics). This is a mandatory University Orientation Fee paid by all first-time, first year – level 1 undergraduate students registered for 18 or more units. Since you are paying for MacPass, we encourage you to take advantage of the benefits


  • First year undergraduate students
  • Full-time, first year students
  • Mature students entering first year
  • International students
  • Transfer into first year Students (payment required)
  • McMaster Nursing Students
  • Mohawk/Conestoga Nursing Students (payment required)

Not Eligible:

  • Part-time students
  • Transfer students (not entering first year)
  • Upper year students
  • Midwifery students
  • MELD students

Those who are not eligible can still attend the following events: IRIS, School Concert, Clubsfest and Sidewalk Sale

Those who are not eligible can still attend the following events: Community show for IRIS, School-wide Concert (payment may be required), Clubsfest and Sidewalk Sale.

  • Wristband for access to all events
  • One-of-a-kind Faculty T-Shirt
  • Residence or Off-Campus T-Shirt

On March 28, 2012, McMaster students voted in favour of a mandatory First-Year Orientation Fee (MacPass) in the amount of $116.74 or all level 1 undergrad students registered for 18 or more units. This fee is used for the operation of Welcome Week, organized in partnership by the MSU and the Student Success Centre. If you are registered for 18 units or more as of Aug. 31, 2017, your student account will be charged the mandatory First Year Orientation Fee of $118.87 on August 31, 2017 (no opt-out option available). This fee will entitle you to participate in all orientation programs and events administered by the Student Success Centre, MSU and faculty societies commencing during Welcome Week. There is no opt-out provision. These events are planned for all students including off campus (renting), commuter students (living at home), and students living on campus. These are great programs to welcome you to student life and ease your transition into university. Don’t miss out. We look forward to seeing you!

Exceptions that are not levied but can purchase a MacPass:

  • Transfer into first year students
  • Mohawk/Conestoga Nursing students

  1. Fill out the OSCARplus link that was sent to your email
  2. If you did not receive an email, contact SSC Event.

NOTE: Online MacPass registration will close on August 20 at 11:59 p.m.

In order to pick up your MacPass, please bring:

  • Your McMaster Student ID Card.If you have not yet received your student card, bring documentation that highlights your student number as well as a form of photo identification
  • Alternatively, bring the printed email confirmation sent from registering for the MacPass and a piece of photo ID

All first year students registered in 18 units or more as of August 31, 2017 at 4 p.m. will be levied the Orientation (commonly referred to as the MacPass) fee of $116.74 and your student account will be charged on August 31.

In order for us to plan for the number of students who intend to participate in events throughout the week, you do need to confirm for your MacPass online.

If you have confirmed your acceptance to McMaster University after mid-June, contact SSC Event and include the following information in your email:

  • Name
  • Student Number
  • MacID (check that you have activated your MacID)

Online MacPass registration will close on August 20 at 11:59 p.m.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Please do not cancel your registration and re-register as this may result in your account being double charged (if you paid using credit card) which may take time to reverse. Instead, please e-mail SSC Event to get your details sorted out.

You can sign up in person at the MacPass pick up location.

We can do our best with what’s left over in stock. Once you have chosen your shirt, there are no exchanges. Guaranteed T-shirt size deadline is Sunday, July 17, 2017.

The MacPass is exclusively for first year students at McMaster. The MacPass cannot be purchased by upper year students. There are, however,  a few events during Welcome and the first week of classes that are open to upper year students and we would encourage you to participate in these events.

Dining Plan

We want ensure you can maximize opportunities to meet other students and become familiar with life at McMaster!

Meal times are built into the Welcome Week schedule, but there are many people to feed in a short period of time and not all eateries on-campus are open during the Move-In weekend of Welcome Week.  The Welcome Week Dining Plan helps to ensure

  • You avoid long line-ups
  • You make it to Welcome Week events and activities on time
  • You can enjoy meals with student leaders and other first year students
  • You will help to ensure a safe and efficient move-in process for all residence students

All meals will be served in CIBC Hall. Here are the times based on your residence:

  • 5:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m., McKay
  • 5:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Whidden
  • 6:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m., Edwards and Hedden (floors 2 and 4)
  • 7:15 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Hedden (floors 1, 3 and 5)

Welcome Week Menu: Saturday Dinner


  • Baby kale, spinach salad with red onions, sundried cranberries, and sunflower seeds
  • Dressings: raspberry, blush grape fruit, balsamic
  • Chickpea salad


  • Broiled lemon herb chicken tenders
  • Tofu Allo Gobi- turmeric infused cauliflower and potatoes with tofu and cilantro
  • Roasted garlic green beans
  • Biryani basmati rice


  • Mango mousse cake bites
  • Mocha mousse cake bites
  • Raspberry mousse cake bites
  • Fruit salad


Here are the times/locations based on your residence.


  • 8:00 a.m. to 8:45 a.m., Whidden, food served in CIBC Hall
  • 8:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m., Hedden, food served in Celebration Hall
  • 8:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., McKay, food served in CIBC Hall
  • 9:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m., Edwards, food served in CIBC Hall


  • 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Whidden, food served in CIBC Hall
  • 11:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., Hedden, food served in Celebration Hall
  • 12:15 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., McKay, food served in CIBC Hall
  • 1:00 p.m. to 1:45 p.m., Edwards, food served in CIBC Hall


  • 5:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m., McKay, Edwards, Mary Keyes, food served in Sport Hall
  • 5:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m., Whidden, food served in CIBC Hall
  • 5:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Brandon and Wallingford, food served in Sport Hall
  • 5:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Woodstock, food served in CIBC Hall
  • 6:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m., Hedden (floors 1, 3, and 5), food served in Sport Hall
  • 6:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m., Matthews and Moulton, food served in CIBC Hall
  • 7:15 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Bates and Hedden (floors 2 and 4), food served food served in Sport Hall

Welcome Week Menu: Sunday Breakfast

  • Scrambled eggs
  • Bacon
  • Pancakes and maple syrup
  • Whole fruit
  • Tetra pack juices, Coffee and/or Tea

Welcome Week Menu: Sunday Lunch


  • Broccoli quinoa salad
  • Napa cabbage and heritage Brussel sprout blend with mandarin oranges and daikon radish
  • Dressings: sesame, blush grape fruit, balsamic
  • Bread Basket with Butter


  • Tempeh and vegetable stir fry with a tangy sauce
  • Beef and vegetable stir fry
  • Sesame tossed udon noodles
  • Tilapia filet in a red curry Thai sauce with squash, edamame and pine apple garnish


  • Vanilla, Chocolate, Raspberry and Lemon tart
  • Whole fruit
  • Assorted Cold Beverages

Welcome Week Menu: Sunday Dinner


  • Romaine Caesar salad with parmesan cheese creamy garlic dressing and croutons
  • Heritage blend salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, peppers
  • Dressings: same as before
  • Bread Basket with butter


  • B.b.q roasted chicken- bone in skin on roasted chicken pieces
  • Tri colour fusilli with grilled vegetable and bean medley with sundried tomato olive oil sauce
  • Red skin mash potatoes
  • California vegetable mix


  • Black forest cake bites
  • Cappuccino cake bites
  • Carrot cake bites
  • Coconut cake bites
  • Assorted Cold Beverages

Those on the dining plan will have the choice of a hamburger, hot dog, or veggie burger, with a whole fruit, small bag of veggie chips and juice box.


MacQuest is a unique Welcome Week event that allows you to choose from tons different tours/activities happening throughout the day on August 30, 2017. We design the MacQuest tours and activities to appeal to every interest and provide you an opportunity to step outside of your faculty or residence and make connections with other students who share similar interests.

The tours will also help you grow comfortable in your new campus setting as you meet campus partners and learn about the services that McMaster offers through fun games, tours and activities.

  • Step 1: Click here to review the MacQuest activity booklet. This is where you will find out what activities are being offered and when they are offered.
  • Step 2: Choose one activity that you want to register in the morning (between 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.) and one activity that you want to register for in the afternoon (between 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.).
  • Step 3: Click here to register for your morning activity.
  • Step 4: Click here to register for your afternoon activity.

*In order to ensure that all first years have the opportunity to participate in MacQuest, students can select up to one activity in the morning and one activity in the afternoon. If you select more than one activity in each time slot, you will be assigned an activity during that time slot and your other selected activities will be cancelled.

For any questions relating to MacQuest, please contact SSC Event.