BRANDON, MB – Saying goodbye to family and friends to attend university can be challenging. Imagine leaving everybody and everything to travel 7000 kilometers from Lima, Peru to Brandon, MB.
“There were lots of tears at the airport,” says Nataly Ore, who arrived at Brandon University (BU) in January, 2011. “I left my mother, brother and sister to attend University in a city where I didn’t know a soul.”
Nataly says a key in helping her settle into a new life was living in residence at Brandon University.
“Residence offered me a lot compared to renting an apartment,” she says. “I felt more secure. I didn’t have to worry about getting around in an unfamiliar city. It was easier to budget because the costs are fixed. And I immediately started meeting people.”
Nataly made a wise choice. Studies show that student success is strongly affected by the number and the quality of interactions students have with the institution and with each other. BU’s Director of Residences, Paul O’Driscoll, says the university understands residences are an important place for those interactions.
“BU is committed to maximizing the student experience,” says O’Driscoll, himself a BU graduate. “That’s why we are constantly reviewing and enhancing our residences, services and programming. Happy, engaged, students are successful students.”
This fall, students living in BU residences will see upgraded internet service and recreational facilities. More single occupancy rooms have been opened in each residence building – female, male and co-ed. An Academic Residence Assistant program is in-place that pairs seniors with first-year students to help them adjust to the requirements of university coursework. A new study hall is also planned for the men’s residence.
“Residence has really added to my university experience,” says Nataly. “I got involved helping students as a Residence Assistant and Academic Residence Assistant. That gave me the confidence and contacts to get my current job as the General Manager at the Students’ Association.”
Napoleon Bonaparte said that an army marches on its stomach; students also need to be well-nourished, and O’Driscoll says the Main Dining Hall will also see changes. “We will have a new menu, developed in consultation with students, staff and an initiative called Healthy Campus, which has the goal of improving campus health and quality of life at rural postsecondary institutions.”
New this fall are inexpensive daily lunch and supper specials that should be attractive to residence students and non-residents alike. Meeting nutritional requirements is an important factor in student success, and is being addressed by the Healthy Campus group and the University’s Food Service Department.
The Main Dining Hall space is also being refreshed, with a new lounge-type area featuring soft seating, greenery, free Wi-Fi and a casual vibe conducive to conversation and relaxation.
“These initiatives,” says O’Driscoll, “coupled with the a busy agenda of events planned by the Brandon University Student Union, promise to make for an interesting and exciting academic year for BU students.”
“I have really enjoyed residence,” says Nataly. “I have met so many people who have become good friends. It’s something every University student should experience.”
Brandon University, founded in 1899, promotes excellence in teaching, research, creation and scholarship; educating students so that they can make a meaningful difference as engaged citizens and leaders.
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