Student life

There is so much to discover beyond the classroom at uOttawa. Something is always happening, from Welcome Week and free yoga to benefit concerts and holiday markets. You’ll never be short of things to do, no matter the time of year. Keep active at our gyms, fitness classes, pool, and skating rinks. We also offer a Healthy Lifestyles program led by a registered dietitian and a certified fitness trainer to help you maintain a healthy weight.

Both English and French thrive on our campus, so you’ll have an opportunity to learn or improve your French in and outside the classroom. You’ll also hear lots of other languages spoken on campus, and with uOttawa’s culturally rich and open environment, you’re bound to meet new friends from across Canada and around the world.

Fun food festivals

Hot fries and gooey cheese curds dripping in gravy are celebrated at Poutine Fest, featuring creative takes on the Canadian classic.

Winter fun that warms your heart

Don’t hibernate this winter or you’ll miss out on all the fun at the Snow Festival! Spend the night sleeping under the stars in a tipi with a First Nations host who will share stories and answer questions about Indigenous culture. Embrace winter sports with free opportunities to try snowshoeing and curling right on campus. Then warm up with free Beavertails and hot chocolate — but you better get in line early; it doesn’t take long before these treats disappear.
Taco Truck Fest brings you the freshest handheld bites, with choices ranging from authentic to outrageous. Don’t forget the napkins!
Get cozy with a steaming bowl of soup or a hearty bowl of mac and cheese at the Winter Comfort Food Festival.
A simple pleasure is one of the most popular at the Snow Festival: pouring boiled maple syrup onto fresh snow and rolling it up into a mouth-watering lollipop.

An education in entertainment

The uO show is the most important outdoor event during Welcome Week, with high-energy performances from amazing bands.
Laugh it up at Café Nostalgica comedy nights. Two stand-up comedians will perform sets that will keep you smiling long after the show is over.

Express yourself

Feel like getting out of your head and expressing your creativity, or simply staying in touch through art? The campus is full of inspiration!

With so many different personalities and life experiences represented at uOttawa, the campus is a creative hub. The monthly Creative Mornings breakfast lecture series might inspire ideas for a new project, or it could be the student showcases at Gallery 115 that jumpstarts your imagination.

Our theatre students have serious acting chops, as you can see for yourself at one of the campus productions in English or French. Classical concerts at Tabaret Hall will transport you to another place, or keep your feet on the ground at a dance class. And for something really original, register for Zombie Day to perfect gruesome makeup techniques and learn about surviving the apocalypse with a zombie specialist (yes, they exist!).

So you think you’ve got talent? Show us what you’ve got and wow the audience for a good cause at the uOttawa’s Got Talent fundraising show. Don’t be shy: students, professors and staff are welcome to take the stage to share their secret (or not so secret) talents. You’ll join performers of all stripes, from musicians to contortionists and even jump rope enthusiasts, all of them helping to raise funds for uOttawa’s annual United Way campaign. So what are you waiting for? Polish up those tap shoes and start tuning that accordion — we’ll need you to help us reach our fundraising goal.

Our playful side

We turn out in the thousands to support our teams. A sell-out crowd of over 24,000 fans piled into TD Place to cheer on the uOttawa Gee-Gees and our local rivals, the Carleton Ravens, at the 2017 Panda Game — a fixture on the local university athletic calendar since 1955. We always cheer the loudest for all of our varsity teams, including the men’s and women’s Gee-Gees teams that compete in basketball, hockey, rugby, soccer, volleyball, swimming, and track and cross-country.

More than 8,000 students, employees, and alumni play in one of our 18 intramural programs in competitive or recreational leagues. We encourage all uOttawa students to get their bodies moving, whether on a team, in our Olympic-sized swimming pool, on one of our two ice rinks, in the martial arts room, or in the dance studio.

Having fun with The Arkells! #uoshow #welcomeweek #canadianmusic #101week
French or English, indoors or outdoors, movie buffs will love the free screenings right on campus throughout the year.
If you’ve got something to say, sign up for Ripostes. Every month a debate is recorded in the Agora for broadcast on Rogers TV.
Celebrate the end of winter by rocking out with some of today’s best artists at the uOttawa Music Festival.
Impressive mustaches are guaranteed at the Movember party, which celebrates the annual month-long campaign to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer.
You’ll have to pick your jaw up off the floor when you see parkour professionals run, jump, and climb their way around campus.

Gee-Gees play for mental health

The Gee-Gees men’s and women’s basketball and hockey teams, and the women’s volleyball team, brought their A game for Bell Let’s Talk Day, a mental health awareness campaign that has donated approximately $80 million to mental health programs in Canada since 2010. Players gave away thunder sticks and temporary tattoos at the games in support of the campaign, and they and spectators alike shared photos on social media to raise awareness of mental health.

The Gee-Gees men’s hockey team also co-hosted a Do It for Daron (DIFD) Mental Health Night at their home game against the Carleton Ravens.

Created by the friends and family of Daron Richardson, who lost her life to suicide at the young age of 14, DIFD focuses on raising awareness about youth mental health and working towards a future where young people will reach out for help without fear or shame. Both teams wore purple DIFD stickers on their helmets, and the proceeds from all food sales and 50/50 lottery tickets were donated to DIFD.


Colourful campus

The uOttawa Splash Run is the most colourful way to get some exercise. Your goal: to cross the finish line covered in as many colours as possible.

Some of the best things in life are free

Living on a budget doesn’t have to be boring. We host free and inexpensive activities throughout the year so you’ll never feel like you’re missing out. Kick off the academic year at Piknic International on Tabaret Lawn, where you can eat your way around the world. Spend an evening with friends under the stars at a free movie night. During exams, take advantage of free yoga to boost your energy and refocus your mind.

Bargain hunters will love the Free Store, where you can drop off items that you no longer need and bring home items that you want. The goal is to eliminate waste by reducing consumption and ensuring that campus cast-offs have a second chance before hitting the landfill or the recycling bin. Footwear, clothing, kitchenware, electronics, and more — everything in the store is free.

Wear white and break out your fluorescent accessories to Zumba, pilox (pilates combined with boxing!), and yoga it up under black lights at the Fluo Party.
Photo: Dave Di Ubaldo
Your inner Monet might emerge during Paint Night at Café Nostalgica. An artist-host will walk you through techniques to create your masterpiece.

Gee-Gee spirit

Many university sports teams have been called by their school’s colours, garnet and grey (grenat et gris) in uOttawa’s case. At one point, the media began referring to uOttawa’s teams simply as the “GGs,” providing a bilingual nickname for them.
October is Panda Game time in Ottawa! One of Canada’s most popular university football games, it pits the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees against the Carleton University Ravens to see who will bring home Pedro the Panda.
A local jeweller donated the original Pedro the Panda, a plush toy, to uOttawa. Eventually he became the coveted prize of the Panda Game. Over the years, there have been several generations of Pedros.
A record number of football fans (some 24,420!) proudly cheered on their teams at TD Place during the 2017 Panda Game, a long-standing annual tradition that sees the Carleton Ravens pitted against their cross-town rivals, the Gee-Gees, with the winner taking possession of Pedro the Panda. For only $30, fans can purchase a Gee-Gees pass, giving them access to all pre-season and home games!
More than 350 students compete on uOttawa varsity teams every year. The women’s basketball team is supported by a head coach, assistant coaches, trainers and therapists.
Whether football, basketball, hockey, soccer or volleyball, or any of our 35+ competitive or intramural sports is your game, everyone is a Gee-Gee!
The “GGs” nickname was taken from the initials of uOttawa’s colours. It was eventually combined with the horse-racing term “gee-gee,” meaning the first horse out of the starting gate, and our horse mascot was born!
The uOttawa women’s rugby team took home the silver medal at 2016 national championship, its best result ever.
The Gee-Gees mascot helps with the heavy lifting on move-in weekend. Volunteers from all over the campus lend a hand to move the nearly 4,000 out of town students into rez every September.
The Gee-Gees cheerleading team combines stunts, tumbling, dancing, and jumping into exciting and challenging routines. You’ll see the team cheering on the sidelines at school sporting events, including the Panda Game.

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