September 24, 2015 – This year, the First Nations House of Learning undertook a fresh approach to orientating new Aboriginal students to the UBC campus. On September 3rd, first year undergraduate, transfer, and graduate students were invited to participate in an open house and welcome reception at the Sty-Wet-Tan Great Hall at the First Nations Longhouse.
The event included FNHL, faculty and staff introductions, various UBC student service and academic information booths, cultural entertainment, and an engaging student discussion panel. Forty-one new-to-UBC students attended along with family and friends.
Other FNHL orientation programming slated for the winter session include a series of workshops offered by campus partners for the purpose of connecting students with each other, supporting campus engagement, and sharing key information to support wellness, academic success and how to have some fun while on campus.
“It’s important to create connections and a sense of community for Aboriginal students so that they feel a part of and engaged with UBC culture,” says Nadine Alvarado-Hensley, the Aboriginal student and community development officer with the First Nations House of Learning.
To date, two workshops have been offered, Sneak It In: Making Moving A Part of Life and Fun by UBC REC and Consent and Health Relationships by AMS Sexual Assault Support Centre. Others are planned and each will address a topic important to new students.
Regarding the efficacy of this new approach, Ms. Alvarado-Hensley says, “it is our hope that we’ll be better able to connect new Aboriginal students to each other, faculty, staff and campus resources, and in doing so strengthen connections and build relationships all around.
“We think it is a valuable program, one that we hope will meet the orientation needs of students.”
The program, she adds, also aligns with the university’s Aboriginal strategic plan, “which calls for student orientation programming to be expanded and supported on an ongoing basis.”
For more information, contact Nadine at 604-822-8941 or firstname.lastname@example.org.