By Pierre LaRoche
With the opening of the new Henderson and Rideau residences this fall, Housing Service is preparing to welcome a record 4,000 students for the start of classes.
“Thanks to these two new residences, this year we have approximately 580 more first-year students in residence” said Housing Service director Michel Guilbeault. “The first year of university is often one of transition to independent living, often in a new city. The uOttawa residence experience is much more than just housing. It’s an environment which enables students to experience growth and learning well beyond the boundaries of the classroom.”
Study groups, mentoring sessions and volunteer opportunities are some of the many activities being offered to the soon-to-be residents. The RezLife team, made up of 11 coordinators, four professional counsellors, 14 student mentors (four of which will be living in residence) and over 100 community advisors offer support to residents.
Residents will kick off the year by taking part in the First Six Weeks program; a series of awareness and training workshops that address various topics such as study methods, budgeting, campus resources, safety and security, and healthy living. While living in residence, not only will students learn these life skills, they will create friendships that often last well beyond their time at uOttawa.
For students in residence, there’s always an opportunity to take part in meaningful activities, events, and projects. For the first time, Friel residents will be living within a Living-Learning Community (LLC) – one that promotes leadership and community engagement allowing residents to volunteer for local organizations within their community such as Ottawa Community Housing.
Since 2014, Housing Service has actively pursued new residence opportunities to meet the needs of our growing population. As a result, the Service has added three new residences bringing the total up from seven to ten residences and added 1,000 beds overall allowing close to 4,000 students to live on-or near campus. Last year, Housing Service converted the property located at 240 Friel into a student residence. In 2015, the former Quality Inn, now the Rideau Residence, was retrofitted to accommodate approx. 400 students. For the first time since 2004, we will be opening a new purpose-built student residence on campus. Henderson will accommodate an additional 172 first-year students.
Housing Service invests in its residents and offers them a leading role within the Service. Over 150 residents are hired year over year as Community Advisors or reception staff. During the summer, when some residences become hotels, most of the 75 students hired work at the reception desk and in other roles.
Who knows what the future holds for uOttawa Housing, so be sure to stay tuned!