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UBC Okanagan campus welcomes more first-year students than 2022

Click to play video: 'UBC-Okanagan campus comes alive as post-secondary students begin classes'
UBC-Okanagan campus comes alive as post-secondary students begin classes
Post-secondary students also heading back to classes today. At UBC-Okanagan--it was a beehive of activity as first-year and returning students packed the campus. As Klaudia Van Emmerik reports, this year's incoming class is a lot larger than in 2022 – Sep 5, 2023

The campus at UBC Okanagan in Kelowna, B.C., has come alive with students — and a lot of them.

“This is where we see, like, the energy of campus — just reinvigorating at this time of year and it’s always just so exciting to welcome our students back.” said Layne McDougall, interim director of student engagement and learning.

There are some 12,000 students attending the Interior’s largest university this year and while the overall student body is about the same as last year, there are more first-year students than in 2022.

“We’re about 300 students more in this year’s incoming class,” McDougall said.

First-year students moved into on-campus residences over the Labour Day long weekend.

They were also able to take part in orientation sessions to ease the transition into the post-secondary environment.

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“Through ‘Create New Student’ orientation, which we ran on Labour Day, we saw over 1,500 new students connected with student leaders, and we have an information fair with student clubs and course unions and campus departments…where students can find ways to feel connected.”

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UBC students pen letter against changes to overnight residence staffing

Returning students are also enjoying the campus connection after COVID forced many courses to go online.

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“Everything is kind of in-person now, which is when I first started it was all online, so it’s kind of nice to actually get to see the campus,” said fourth-year student Sarah Crerar.

As the campus grows, so do the housing needs for students and with affordability being a major issue in Kelowna, for many students finding accommodation has be challenging.

“I was staying up in Academy way, that got kind of pricey and it is kind of geared towards students and stuff so seeing that was kind of unfortunate but then I found this lovely family and everything is included and nicely priced,” said fifth-year student Emily Matthew.

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McDougall said creating more-on campus housing is always top of mind for the university.

“The campus does everything it can to help keep up with the demands and new residents,” McDougall said.

She pointed to the Nechako building as an example.

The 220-unit building opened in 2021.

McDougall also said that the university does try and connect student tenants with potential landlords.

“Part of what my office does is connect students with off campus housing opportunities,” McDougall said. “And so we partner with places for students and that allows people from the community to be able to put rooms or houses for rent available for students.”

UBC-O can accommodate a total of 2,100 students in its on-campus housing.

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