Want to get involved? A few tips for first year students and other newcomers.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Written by Reilly Scott

Now that O-week has come to a close, you might be wondering what you can do in your spare time to get involved and acquainted with people who share your interests. Fabulously enough, campus is loaded with interest groups and clubs along with tons of employment and volunteer opportunities that will make your time at the University of Guelph much more interesting, fulfilling and fun.

There's something here for everybody with every kind of interest, it's just a matter of getting out there and knowing where to go to find it. Here are a few options to get you started.

The first thing to know about the University's Athletic Center is that you have already paid for many of the services that it offers through your student fees. This includes access to both pools, basketball courts, squash courts, the Gryphon dome track and skating arena. There are also a variety of fitness classes, intramural and competitive sports teams as well as a cardio and weight room that can be accessed for a small fee per semester. Go to the athletic center desk for more information about how to become involved with Gryphon athletics.

The University's Central Student's Association is your student government. It is comprised of an elected executive of former Guelph students. They help to organize and maintain many interest clubs such as Engineers without Borders, Habitat for Humanity, Nature photography club, Outdoors club and Guelph cycling. The list of clubs is extensive and includes many cultural, recreational, academic and artistic focuses. If you can't find a club to suit your interests, make it a goal to propose an idea to the CSA execs! The CSA also provides many volunteer opportunities (ie. Safewalk, Meal Exchange and Project Serve) along with employment opportunities such as the CSA Bike Centre and the Bullring. For more information about the CSA and what it has to offer visit www.csaonline.ca.

Getting involved in residence:

Interhall council - Every residence on campus has a council that is comprised of Guelph students who are elected on a yearly basis. The council runs events and helps to build an involved community within the residence. Students are encouraged to attend weekly meetings and, eventually, will have the option of running for an executive or 'floor rep' position.

Residence Life Staff- Joining RLS is an excellent way to enjoy the residence experience while simultaneously maintaining a very flexible and rewarding job. Positions include Residence Assistant, Programming Residence Assistant and Community Assistant. Hiring opportunities for RLS frequently arise throughout the year. In the meantime, chat with your R.A. or Residence Manager about job details.

Arts Students:
There is a wide variety of opportunities for those of you who are artistically inclined. Join the Drama Student's Federation e-mail list to stay up to date on auditions and events that occur within the campus' theatre community. There are also several choirs on campus such as 'Siren' women's choir and symphonic choir. Contact Prof. Marta McCarthy for info on how to audition. Contact Prof. Howard Spring in Guelph's music department to get information on joining a band or musical ensemble. hot tip #1 - Finely tuned pianos are available in MacKinnon's music department during business hours on weekdays. Sign up sheets for practice slots are posted on the piano booths. Contact a professor from the music department for information on how to acquire a practice time. Or, use the booths at your leisure when they are empty! Visual artists may be curious to visit the Zavitz building which is located right next to Branion Plaza.

Science Students:
Take the time to volunteer at the Ontario Veterinarian College, the Engineering Society or talk to your favourite professor about other volunteer and job opportunities.

It is important to know that every student within the University of Guelph belongs to a college specific to their program. Some examples are the Agricultural College, the College of Arts, the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Biological Sciences. Participating in your College government will give you the chance to have an active input into the your education by representing yourself and others in your college. Take the chance to voice your concerns, opinions and ideas to the board that governs your degree.

The Peer helper Program:
In the most basic sense, the Peer Helper program is about students
helping students. Whether it is concerning health, academics or
athletics the program is there to support students in times of need. Positions exist within 20 different units on campus including the Wellness Centre, the Athletic Centre and the Learning Commons. Peer helpers are given the opportunity to present workshops, plan programs and events, produce resources and refer to campus and community resources, distribute information and work in a professional and educational setting with other students. The program is an excellent way to stay involved as a student leader and it looks great on a resume!

All in all, Guelph provides a friendly, educational, supportive and interactive environment for all of it's students. Opportunities for involvement are everywhere and the options are endless, the list above just skims the surface. Life on a busy campus can be extremely intimidating to a newcomer but communication helps! Ask questions! Approach Professors, TAs or student leaders and you will find that the more involved you are the more opportunities will arise. So, find a way to get involved and make your University experience a great one.

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  1. Posted by: Curtis on Sep 15, 2008 @ 1:17pm

    Awesome article! I now know what I can do as a first year student! Thank you Reilly Scott!

  2. Posted by: Natalie on Sep 16, 2008 @ 2:38pm

    Is it true you can volunteer and walk the dogs at the Vet college?


  3. Posted by: reilly on Sep 17, 2008 @ 10:32am

    The best thing to do is to perform a search from the UofG website search engine. I know that there is volunteer dog walking in Guelph for sure as I have contacted someone about it previousely. I'm just not sure if it is with the vet college.

  4. Posted by: Prof. Michael Barber on Nov 4, 2008 @ 4:29pm

    This is addressed to Prof Marta McCarthy. I am starting a choir for challenged young adults in Green Bay, WI. I found on the internet that you direct a very similar group. Do you have any information that I could use to make the most memorable experience possible. Any help you can render will be gratefully appreciated. Thank-you very much.

    Prof. Michael Barber

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