Campus Life

University of Lethbridge ready to welcome students

The buzz around campus signals the fall semester isn’t far away.  U of L crews have been polishing, painting and planning in anticipation of the first day of classes on Wednesday, Sept. 3.

Monday and Tuesday will see a flurry of activity on campus as incoming students attend New Student Orientation (NSO).

This year, NSO will include Commencement, an official welcome to new students taking place at 10:30 a.m. Monday morning in the 1st Choice Savings Centre. Commencement was created as a way to help students mark the start of their post-secondary education at the U of L. Each student attending will receive a commemorative coin that signifies his or her membership in the U of L student community.

U of L President and Vice-Chancellor Mike Mahon looks forward to welcoming new students at Commencement, where students will learn about the history and symbols associated with the U of L.

“As our students begin their academic journey, we hope that Commencement will introduce them to the U of L community and mark the start of their experience here,” says Mahon.

Students and their families will have a variety of sessions to choose from as part of NSO activities, including a Personal Orientation for Students, a Connect the Dots session for transfer students, or a Family Orientation. The complete NSO schedule is available online.

Preliminary projections indicate the U of L will welcome approximately 2,300 new students to its three campuses in Lethbridge, Calgary and Edmonton this September. They will join more than 6,000 returning students.

Enrolment in the nursing and education programs continues to be strong and both programs will be at capacity. Next fall, the Faculty of Health Sciences will admit students to its new aboriginal health major. The Faculty of Education has admitted 36 more students into its two-year program, making for more than 250 students overall. Over the next two years, the Faculty has agreed to admit 36 more students every other year.

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences has worked hard over the past year to create relationships with colleges in Alberta and British Columbia to facilitate the transfer of science students. That work will continue this year and in 2015, the Faculty plans to restart its first year Pre-Engineering program. Also in 2015, the Faculty plans to pilot a special liberal education program focused on water, sustainability and equality for a select cohort of students.

In addition, the U of L saw record numbers of applications to Graduate Studies after it implemented an online application and review system last year. Current data shows that offers and accepted offers are up this year and this is a positive sign for the U of L’s position as a comprehensive university.

The influx of students has a demonstrable effect on the entire city as they rent accommodation, consume services and work at part-time jobs.  While the city certainly benefits from their presence in town, the U of L also has an annual provincial economic impact of $1.2 billion, the majority of it in southern Alberta.

That impact will grow even more as the U of L’s Destination Project becomes reality. Extensive planning has already been done on the project, which includes the construction of a new academic building, the revitalization of University Hall and the construction of a new energy centre for the University. The design phase will continue this year and the public will be invited to see our progress to date sometime in September.

“We are always trying to serve our students better and the Destination Project is one more way we can accomplish this goal,” says Mahon. “As the fall semester starts, we look forward to a positive and productive year.”