The UBC Okanagan campus in Kelowna, BC, bustled with students – and lots of them.
“That’s where we see the energy of campus – just invigorating at this time of year and it’s always so exciting to welcome our students back.” said Layne McDougall, acting director of student engagement and learning.
Some 12,000 students are attending the largest university in the interior this year, and while the overall student body is about the same as last year, there are more freshmen than in 2022.
“We’re about 300 more students in the new cla*s this year,” McDougall said.
Freshmen moved into on-campus residence halls over the Labor Day long weekend.
They were also able to participate in orientation sessions to facilitate the transition to post-secondary education.
“Through the ‘Create a New Student’ orientation, which we held on Labor Day, we saw over 1,500 new students connect with student leaders, and we are hosting an information fair with student clubs, course unions and campus departments…where students can find ways to feel connected.”
Returning students are also taking advantage of being connected to campus after COVID forced many cla*ses to move online.
“It’s all done in person now, whereas when I started it was all done online, so it’s kind of nice to be able to see the campus,” said fourth-year student Sarah Crerar.
As the campus expands, student housing needs also increase, and with affordability being a major issue in Kelowna, for many students finding housing proves difficult.
“I was staying at the Academy it was getting a bit pricey and it’s more for students and all so seeing that was a bit unfortunate but then I found this lovely family and it’s all inclusive and at a great price “said the fifth. Emily Matthew, year student.
McDougall said creating more on-campus housing is always a priority for the university.
“The campus is doing everything it can to accommodate requests and new residents,” McDougall said.
She cited the Nechako Building as an example.
The 220-unit building opened in 2021.
McDougall also said the university tries to connect student tenants with potential landlords.
“Part of what my office does is connect students with off-campus housing opportunities,” McDougall said. “And so we partner with places for students and that allows people in the community to be able to make rooms or houses for rent available to students.”
UBC-O can accommodate a total of 2,100 students in its on-campus housing.
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