Students learn to lead at Office of the Student Experience

The University of Calgary’s new Office of the Student Experience is looking to reinvigorate campus life by helping students manage their transition to university.

Formed from a merger between the Student Life Office and U of C 101 program, the office’s mandate is to provide academic and social support to better engage students and help create a sense of campus community.

“I think for a long time the U of C was continuously downsizing on student programs,” admitted OSE associate director Heather Cummings. “However, they eventually stopped and looked, and realized that we have to do something to help and do more for our students. This is why our office is here.”

One of the office’s new initiatives is a leadership program for third and fourth-year students looking to learn about leadership concepts.

The program consists of seminars to give students a theoretic background in leadership, as well as practical opportunities, such as being a member of the Wellness and Health Awareness Team, a peer mentor or a U of C ambassador.

“It is so important to engage students, especially since this is a commuter campus,” affirmed Cummings. “We’re looking to create opportunities for students to interact with each other, especially those with a common academic or social interest.”

Jim Dunsdon, assistant vice-president (student services), agreed with Cummings’ comments.

“We found a lot of students weren’t feeling connected to the university,” he said. “We wanted to provide students opportunities to get involved and bring together student leaders and students in general.”

Students’ Union vice-president academic Shannon O’Connor is also enthusiastic about the idea.

“To tell you the truth, I’m not too familiar with any U of C leadership program,” she said. “However, I think the new office is great in that the university is trying to improve the student experience.”