By Rebecca MacFarlane
For incoming students, as well as for current students, who want to know more about their campus, here are ten things about the University of Ottawa I wish I had known sooner.
1. Free stuff is everywhere
Although being a university student will be one of the most exciting times of your life, it can also be extremely stressful financially. That’s exactly why the free services provided by uOttawa are so great. My favourites are the Free Store, a student-run facility where you can pick up everything from household items to clothes, and the Muggy Mondays program, which provides fair trade coffee, tea or hot chocolate to anyone who brings a reusable mug to participating locations.
2. You can rent your textbooks
Textbooks for most courses can be rented at the uOttawa bookstore. Once your course materials are posted on uoZone or you have your course syllabi, search the book titles on the bookstore website to view your purchase options. You’ll usually have the option to rent a used or new textbook.
3. You can use your Flex/Dining dollars just about anywhere on campus
With a simple tap , you can purchase items from various locations accepting your uOttawa card, including the 24-hour Dining Hall, the Pivik, the uOttawa Bookstore, Tim Hortons, the Second Cup on Laurier Avenue and many more. You can also use Flex dollars to buy textbooks, other school supplies and the uOttawa gear you’ll need to wear to rep your school at the annual Panda Game.
4. There are exciting and enriching events going on all the time
There are lots of workshops, seminars and presentations that make the student experience at uOttawa so unique. Some feature very well-known Canadian figures: In April 2016, Prime Minister and Minister of Youth Justin Trudeau visited campus to answer students’ questions on topics such as Indigenous issues, access to legal support, and cabinet appointments for women. Be sure to check uoCal for all upcoming campus events!
5. Your Dining dollars don’t have to go to waste
Dining dollars are only valid for the period for which they were purchased, which is typically one school year. Sometimes you just can’t use them all up in that time. However, uOttawa offers a simple solution for these leftover funds: transferring your Dining dollars to your Flex dollar account. That way, the funds don’t expire until you are no longer a student!
6. uOttawa has one of the most sustainable campuses in Canada
One of the things that distinguishes the University is its dedication to reducing waste and remaining sustainable. For example, the campus has been bottled water free since 2010. Take part in Bike to Work Day and National Sweater Day to show your support for sustainable transportation and heating alternatives.
7. Support is out there
The Student Academic Success Service (SASS) offers a variety of services designed to help students. The Academic Writing Help Centre (AWHC) provides writing appointments, classroom presentations and workshops to help students learn how to identify mistakes in their own writing and avoid such errors in the future. For personal concerns, SASS also offers mental health and wellness services such as professional counselling, peer counselling and coaching.
8. Losing your student card is not the end of the world
As a university student, you will be incredibly busy juggling your course load, maybe a part-time job and extracurricular activities. It’s surprisingly easy to lose your student card. But don’t worry. Getting a new card is super easy. All you have to do is visit InfoService or the uOttawa Card Service, present ID, and pay $25 to receive a brand new card.
9. uOttawa is rich with opportunities to make a difference
The Michaëlle Jean Centre for Global and Community Engagement offers different types of opportunities to volunteer in Ottawa and around the world. The University also has more than 250 partner institutions in some 52 countries, providing students with exceptional opportunities to participate in international exchanges. CO-OP placements abroad are also an option for students taking part in the Co-operative Education Programs.
Finally, the University provides hundreds of scholarships and bursaries annually for students of all faculties and all backgrounds. Most involve a very simple application process: Click the “Finances and jobs” tab in your uoZone account and then the quick link Online scholarships and bursaries. Once you’ve completed your student profile, apply away!