A Home away from Home

| Lindsay O’Connell, Residence Life and Accommodations Manager, Macdonald Campus

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Each fall the Macdonald Campus welcomes students from all over the world as they embark on their university studies. About 350 of these students choose to live in one of two residences on our beautiful campus, Laird Hall or Ecoresidence.

The Residences are anything but ordinary as they turn into homes for all those who reside here – they are the places of pizza nights, pumpkin-carving competitions, gingerbread making dates and, of course, study sessions mixed in with a round of pool now and again.

The university is here to educate the students. The residence is here to introduce students to others from around the world, who speak different languages, practice different religions and observe a variety of cultures. The residence is where students have yet another learning experience, except it’s not with books, but through interactions, involvement in activities, and membership in clubs, groups and committees.

When we speak of “outside of the classroom learning” we want students to engage in events and activities that will enhance their student experience. In Laird Hall we have a student-led initiative called the Language Café, which is organized by the students of MSOAR (Macdonald Student Organization for Alumni Relations). Each week students meet to learn French. The one-hour session is hosted by a francophone student and there is an outline of what will be taught week-to-week. Students who wish to participate and broaden their language horizons are welcome to attend!

Additionally, we host many activities to introduce our students to Canadian cultural experiences like snowshoeing, tours of the Ecomuseum and sugaring off, to name a few.

The learning experience, however, extends beyond fun activities and includes learning lessons as well. Through a partnership with a Macdonald alumnus, we have been able to bring workshops and presentations like Rez Project – Gender, Sexuality and Consent, Safer Partying and Bystander Awareness to the students of our residence. These sessions seek to educate our diverse student body and bring more awareness to them so that they can make better-informed decisions within our university walls but also in life beyond them.

Our residence advantage is the amazing community that exists, which adds to the student experience. We are lucky enough to have the help of a great team of Residence Monitors who shape this community and our Residence team, who are dedicated to ensuring that each student has the best residence experience we can offer. We know nothing can ever replace one’s home but we hope that, through our teachings, interactions, events, activities and our community, we become the student’s “home-away-from-home.”

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