The holidays are over, and it’s time to get back to work.
To help ease students back into school life, the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association (UWSA) hosted Snowed In, a series of community-building events during the first week of classes.
Denae Penner, event coordinator for the UWSA, says the events are meant to make the students feel good about their campus and connect them with the city around them.
“We want to connect students to spaces around campus so students feel grounded,” Penner says. “We want to focus on connecting the students with the community.
“Because the university is downtown and situated in an existing neighbourhood, I think it’s good that students can look outside of the physical campus and see what’s going on around them.”
According to the UWSA, the response has been positive so far. There are no exact numbers for how many students participated in events this year, but the UWSA estimates that around 50 students took part in each of the events.
But some students believe Snowed In, and other UWSA events, could do better.
Kyle Strong, an education student at the University of Winnipeg says he has never taken part in any of the previous UWSA events before this year, mostly because his work schedule is very demanding. While taking part in the festivities around The Hive, he says that he would like to see more diversity in the events.
“I’d like to see some cultural integration, especially now that we’re seeing a lot of the push for Aboriginal education in universities, we have a (big) community to draw upon,” Strong says. “Maybe pulling in some sort of Aboriginal aspect, that could be good.”
Strong says he understands the value of these back-to-school events, believing it’s a good method to help build a sense of community while also helping with the mental health of the students.
Penner says the UWSA is going to expand its student events to more than just one-off parties. They’re looking to diversify what they offer and appeal to issues that matter to students.
“We want to curate programming that’s more diverse than it has been in the past,” Penner says. “It’s not just partying or dancing … we’re inviting artists from outside the campus to talk about issues they see.”
For more information about upcoming events, visit theuwsa.ca.
Published in Volume 71, Number 15 of The Uniter (January 12, 2017)