Why Connect? The Long-term benefits of student connection
Coming to university can seem like a big step: everything is so new! What classes should I take? Where do I find the gym? Is there a dress code? So many questions…but we have answers! Why not start with connecting with a buddy on Campus through uOConnexion? We’re here to help! Hopefully, these three reasons to connect will inspire you:
- Connect to stay connected to wellness supports: Navigating the grand campus of uOttawa can be challenging. There’s so much to see and do, especially for first year students. Peer connection can help: “Students are often more comfortable seeking support and guidance from their peers over professional counselling services. As a result, peer programs can be a way of connecting students to the many resources and services that exist on campus by being able reach students who would not seek out professional counselling services.” (Campus Peer Support Toolkit, 2020). Peer support programs strongly contribute to a campus culture that encourages positive student connection and increases access to much-needed on-campus mental health programs.
- Connect to improve your student experience: Peer support programs center on the idea that “when students feel more supported, they are more likely to remain engaged in their academics and achieve graduation. “(Casey, 2013) The benefits of great peer support programs are not only limited to increased academic performance and improved student wellbeing. Participating in peer support programs also helps to increase future employability: “Peer supporters will be equipped with transferable skills that they can use in other campus roles, in their lives outside of campus and in their future careers.” (Campus Peer Support Toolkit, 2020)
- Connect to get trained in the art (and science) of human connection: Peer support programs aim to foster conversation in an anti-bias environment. This allows for participants to feel comfortable to make genuine and meaningful connections with others. (Casey, 2013)
Through engaging on-going training sessions, peer supports learn research-informed, practical tips to connect and empathize with people from all walks of life. Participants also learn where to find further resources and support both on and off-campus.
Looking for more information? Find out more about uOConnexion here.
- Campus Peer support toolkit, A guide to implement and operate peer support programs on campus, centre for innovation in Campus mental health https://campusmentalhealth.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/CICMH-Peer-Support-Toolkit-EN.pdf
- Casey, K., (2013). "Effectiveness of Peer Mentoring in First-Year Program Classrooms" Master's Theses. 4262. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31979/etd.etuc-34au https://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/etd_theses/4262
The Power of First Year “Connexion”
uOConnexion (formerly known as the Buddy Program) provides you as a first year, with the opportunity to form deep and lasting connections with other students on campus. Whether you are a local or international student, first year means change and excitement. By connecting with uOConnexion, you’ll improve your interpersonal and intrapersonal skill set, increase your resiliency, and maybe even find a life-long friend! Students and staff from the International Office and Residence Life joined forces to create this great program.
uOConnexion is tried, tested and true! You can create a social network in an unfamiliar environment. The ability to transition to a post-secondary lifestyle is made easier with the support of your peers and knowledge of key resources on campus. Why not learn about yourself as you learn about another person’s worldview? In this program, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with students with a variety of interests, from video games & sports, to activism and politics. Through participating in on-going training, you’ll learn about how our heritage, privileges, and other identities intersect to create our world view. From there, you’ll learn how to be a strong buddy and ally to the students you’ll meet.
Ultimately, through uOConnexion, we hope you leave feeling more connected to all that uOttawa has to offer.
On behalf of Residence Life and the International Office, we hope that you’ll enjoy the program – we look forward to connecting with you!