There’s more to college life than the classroom

Academics are obviously an important part of college, but an active student life can also play a big part in your success. Participating in campus activities can help you meet new people, learn new skills and become part of the college community. Knowing that your time as a student can be busy, we talked to Joe Stapleton, Manager of Student Life, to find out ways that you can get involved.

What are some of the fun things/events that Student Life hosts throughout the year at George Brown?

JS: Our biggest program component is new student orientation and transition programs for September, January and May intakes (this includes Up and Running New Student Preparation Days, Deans Welcomes, Service Fairs and in the very near future an online orientation). We also coordinate the Black Students Success Network (BSSN), lead weekly activities (movie days, games days etc.), cultural celebrations throughout the year, pop-up random acts of kindness days, leadership development and volunteer opportunities.

Recognizing that a lot of students commute to campus and may not have as much free time, can you recommend an easy way to participate in Student Life events on campus?

JS: Many events occur during the day, so we encourage students to stay connected with social media, read the posters and digital screens, and explore the campus to get involved before and in between classes, during their lunch breaks and before they head home for the day.

What about students who are keen to be active in student life. What can they do to be more involved?

JS: Life on campus goes beyond the Student Life department, so we work collaboratively with many areas across the college. When students see an event happening, join in, meet new people and have fun. Students interested in leadership and volunteerism can join the Student Leadership Academy, visit the Student Association  to learn more about student governance, clubs, and events, visit Athletics to learn more about varsity sports and fitness and recreation.

What are the benefits of being involved in campus life?

JS: Students who are both academically and socially engaged feel a deeper connection to the college and the college community—a holistic student experience. This engagement provides some balance to an often-stressful student experience. We acknowledge it isn’t always easy being a student. Health and wellness are important. Getting involved not only makes students more aware of the supports and services available to assist in their success but creates opportunities to have fun and enjoy their college experience. While the core learning comes from the classroom and work-integrated learning (field placements), employers are looking for more from our graduates. Being involved both inside and outside the classroom allows students to develop and strengthen employer sought after people skills, thereby better positioning them for success upon completion of their program. Getting involved on campus often leads to jobs on campus. Many areas including Student Life, Athletics, Library Learning Commons, Tutoring and Learning Centre, Career Centre, Peerconnect, and the Bookstore all hire students and provide an enriching learning experience.

We know Student Life puts on a great orientation - what are some of the main reasons that new students should attend? And if they can't attend, where can they find the key information they may need?

JS: New student orientation and transition programs provide an opportunity for students to:

  • Be reassured they made the right decision in their school and program choice
  • Become familiar with their campus and our services
  • Become more familiar with their program requirements and college expectations (i.e. student code of conduct, plagiarism policies etc.)
  • Meet staff and faculty
  • Meet fellow students
  • Have fun
  • Take care of any outstanding actions (registration, student ID, fitness memberships, health benefits etc.) in advance of classes starting, so when day one rolls around, they can simply focus on classes and getting involved on campus

If a student can’t attend orientation the college website is a very useful tool. Students should also check their George Brown email frequently. Program-related questions are always best answered by the student’s respective program. Students can always stop by any campus Welcome Desk and we will happily assist. The George Brown College Contact Centre—(416) 415-2000—provides information on applications and registration, student services, password assistance, as well as general information and directory assistance. An online orientation is in the works.