By Mark Dreger
Sunday was moving day for UBC Okanagan students living on campus in Kelowna. Hundreds of vehicles filed onto the university grounds, with traffic backed all the way onto the overpass as if it was a border crossing.
Shannon Dunn, director of business operations at UBCO, gave the Capital News a tour around campus to talk with students about moving into their dorms.
“We have nearly 1,700 students living on campus and we expect about a thousand of them to move in today,” Dunn told the Capital News, with about 60 per cent of students on residence being first-year. “This is a similar year, although we are planning for more buildings on campus. In fact we’ve got in process another 440 beds to be built on campus in the next couple of years.”
Renoir Gauvin, a 3rd-year psychology major from Vancouver, moved into the same dorm room she had last school year.
“I’m a little more excited this year,” Gauvin said. “I’ve had a rocky start at university unfortunately, but it’s going to be more exciting and I’m going to participate a little more (this year). I haven’t done Create or anything yet.”
Gauvin also enjoys the company of an emotional support animal to help her get through the school year.
Sarah, a first-year psychology student from Parksville on Vancouver Island, is “super excited” to begin school at UBCO with new courses and meeting new people.
“I applied to many schools back east and everything and when I got into UBCO there was just a feeling I had that made me want to come here,” she said as her parents helped unpack. “Nothing really specific, but I just went with my gut.”
Nelima Esha, a first-year biology student also from Vancouver, arrived in Kelowna on Saturday after her sister attended UBCO before her.
“I wanted to try UBCO because I heard there are better things and better chances here,” she said. Esha is also excited to meet new people, learn new things, and embrace the new opportunities in the new school year.
The 2017-18 school year breaks the UBCO record for the most registered students since the school was founded in 2005. Over 9,000 students from 98 countries have registered for this school year, with 2,250 first-year students.
UBCO is expected to complete their library expansion for more learning spaces this year, has investments with BC transit to make public transportation to the school easier, and construction is planned to begin on the bike path that will replace Kelowna’s old rail line to provide students living off campus a safe path for their bikes.
“Enrolment on campus continues to go up and we’re certainly seeing a lot of interest from students to come to the Okanagan,” Dunn said.