BRANDON, MB – Speeches, tours and 500 drums pounding in unison marked the start of Orientation today for freshman students at Brandon University (BU), a poignant time for both students and their parents.
“Today is scary and exciting, for both of us,” says Tracy Rimmer from Glenboro, MB. Her son Joseph is entering the Faculty of Science. “I went to Ryerson for my degree and never had this sort of experience at Orientation. The Drum Café was unexpected and very cool.”
Drums were given to every student, parent and staff member to participate in a team-building session led by the international Drum Café group. For more than an hour, the Westman Centennial Auditorium reverberated with the primal beat of African drumming.
Nursing students Rinauuta McConnell from Souris, MB and Karlee Weibe from Altona, MB agree the Drum Café was a great ice-breaker, especially “giving massages to the people sitting next to you,” says Karlee. “That was strange and unexpected,” says Rinautta, “but fun and a great way to meet people.”
Yarolsav Malishevskyy and his wife Nelya Malishevska moved to Brandon from the Ukraine four years ago and today accompanied their daughter Anna to Orientation. Nelya says this is a treasured day for the family and she baked a special cake for her daughter in commemoration. Yarolsav says the opening ceremony was surprising. “I expected more speeches,” he laughs.
During the official welcome, BU President and Vice-Chancellor Deborah Poff told students, “You will make friends, fall in love – maybe more than once – write (probably bad) poetry to forget the heartbreak, study and learn to prepare yourself for your chosen vocation and, more importantly, for life in general.”
Recent graduate and Brandon native Corey DeGagne suggested, “You will have great highs and lows. But remember, behind every adversity is an equal or greater opportunity, if you but look.” Pursing his Masters degree this fall in the United Kingdom, he glowed about his own experience at BU, saying, “I’m just a student who fell in love with this university.”
University Chancellor Michael Decter drew an appreciative laugh by referencing Professor Dumbledore from the Harry Potter book series. “It’s not what you are born but what you grow to be,” said Decter. “Leave your preconceptions of your life at the door. Think of who you want to become.”
Over the next week, more than 3,000 people from Brandon and around the globe will begin classes at BU. Jamie Zdebiak from Stonewall, MB is entering Arts to pursue a business degree. “I came here to learn, graduate and make a million dollars.”
“I want to make a lot of friends, have new experiences,” says Kaitlyn Crawford from Dauphin, MB. She will be living in BU’s Residences and hopes to become a geologist. “So far, everybody has been really friendly.”
Lorrie Matthews from Swan River, MB has a son entering the Faculty of Arts. “Kieron likes the idea of attending a smaller university in a smaller city like Brandon, even though his brother is at the University of Manitoba. Kieron is living in Residence, which I feel good about as a parent, knowing that he will be fed and safe!”
“I came here because it’s a small university with and I’ve been told it has good professors,” says Winkler native Brady Monster, enrolled in Physical Education programming. “Both my cousin and my Dad attended BU. I liked orientation. It was calming. They told you what to expect and that helps take away some of your nervousness.”
Through the first two weeks of September Orientation , students will enjoy a pancake breakfast, BBQ, dodge-ball tournament, tipi raising, two socials organized by the Students’ Union, trivia and karaoke nights, learning skills workshops, information sessions, and the Rock The Block street festival.
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.
For more information, please contact:
|Dr. Deborah Poff
President and Vice-Chancellor