Spring 2017 Convocation: Decisive moments
Loran Scholar Myriam Faucher (BSc ’17, Psychology), from Corbeil, Ontario, recounts her experience helping new students discover Ottawa and the University community through volunteering.
I lived in residence, at 90U, in my first year and made some good friends. Because of that wonderful, supportive environment, I was inspired to help first-year students fit into their new community, so I became a community adviser with Residence Life in my second year.
In my third year, I was promoted to a team leader position at Friel Residence. Friel is a Living Learning Community (LLC) in partnership with the Michaëlle Jean Centre for Global and Community Engagement, created for students who want a residence experience that focuses on community engagement. And it was there that I had an aha! moment, as I saw the marriage between social activities and community engagement happening right in that building.
I was super involved in high school, but I grew up in a smaller community where all the services and programs were presented to you. At uOttawa, it was harder to find the right fit. I remember feeling overwhelmed in my first year by all the available choices at the clubs fair.
Since Friel Residence is located off campus in Lowertown, it can be harder for students to feel part of the uOttawa community. However, with the LLC, students are exposed to both the city and the University through volunteer placements and Days of Service. These are fun, one-day volunteer projects that allow students to give their time in a meaningful way alongside other friends from residence. At the end of the school year, when we tallied all the student volunteer hours and what was accomplished, it was amazing to see what a difference they had made.
One of my favourite days was in my third year. We went to play cards and board games with residents of the Garry J. Armstrong Long-Term Care Home, a retirement facility not far from Friel, on Porter Island. The Friel residence used to be a seniors home, so it was especially nice to connect the generations through activities like that.
In September, I’m moving to Scotland to do a Master’s of Science in Food Security at the University of Edinburgh. My uOttawa experience has really prepared me for this next great adventure.