Written By: Esomchukwu Obinna
Photo from: UPEI Campus Life (facebook page)
Student support services have become an integral part of today’s education. Like many schools in Canada, UPEI offers an array of services and support resources for students. From career services, accessibility services, writing services, mental health, and physical health services, aboriginal students services, international students services to a whole host of others. While some of these offices cater to a specific group (for example, international relations office and Mawi’omi aboriginal student center) others serve the entire student population.
One of the departments responsible for providing both niche and general services on campus is the UPEI Student Affairs office. Student Affairs is responsible for coordinating a number student support services on campus. Their office is situated in W.A. Murphy Student Centre(Student Union building) and sits above the bookstore. On the Student Affairs web page, up to eight different student services are listed: health counseling, personal counseling, student diversity office, tutor program, campus food bank, proctor services, new student orientation, academic accommodation, and accessibility.
The members of staff in the student affairs are a very dynamic group – they are constantly adapting and evolving to provide students with valuable services. Many students (and staff and faculty) unfortunately are unaware of the services provided. As a direct consequence, they are unable to access the various resources available. To address this challenge, the office is eager to recruit students, either as volunteers or into paid positions to be in charge of different events and initiatives which aim to benefit the student body, and boost involvement in campus activities. One of such programs is the Campus Life (CL).
The CL program is primarily designed for all students, especially those who are unable to go home in-between class periods because they reside away from campus. Campus Life “provides a safe space on campus to hang out and have fun,” said Daniel Wartman aka Toast, the co-lead Campus Life Advisor (CLA). “A lot of times, there are peer and social pressures that if you want to go out and have fun, you have to go to a pub, get drunk and dance; while that is great fun, we (CLAs) like to provide a different option without the peer pressure of alcohol, sex, and drugs.”
Ali Alghamdi, who is also a CLA is particularly excited for the increased participation of international students in campus life activities: “This year has been an amazing year, to have a lot of international students come up to campus life,” he said. Toast stated: “One of our most important mandates is inclusion; making sure everyone feels welcome, and creating a welcoming environment in every way.” Ali said that most international students do not have adequate information on the services available to them. He added that the CLA team is trying this year to make sure international students are aware of the benefits of resources like the writing center, mentorship programs, and counseling services.
The student affairs lounge is always open to students during the day and at night till 10 pm. However, Toast implored that students be respectful of the office space especially during the day. There are board games, Nintendo Wii, free apple cider, free coffee, and free hot chocolate available to students, and it is also a great study space. The CLAs often host events in the Student Affairs lounge. Upcoming events can be found on their Facebook page: UPEI Campus Life.
So, if you have nothing to do and you are on campus, go up to Student Affairs and check-out what they have going on.