Print Edition: September 4, 2013
When you look over at Baker House, you might think of it as just another college dorm: sleeplessness, depravity, cheap carbs, and freshman angst.
But on August 28 Baker House was a welcome sight to both new and returning UFV students. No matter what their expectations, each student was greeted with sincere smiles and the encouraging help of volunteers.
Becoming accustomed to the new setting of Baker House can be daunting for any first-year. That is why Residence Services organizes an annual “Baker House Move-In.” Junelle Mah, one of the main coordinators, was there all day making sure everything went smoothly.
“It’s all about creating an inclusive community,” Mah said of the move-in.
Bringing previous students to help with the event gives the sense that people moving into Baker House are part of a bigger community: the interaction fosters a warm environment for students, which ultimately helps with their transition to university.
Probably one of the most shocking things Mah has heard from a student moving into Baker House was, “Do people living in residency even graduate?”
Taken aback by the question, she has started to spread the message that Baker House is not a frat house; Residence Services staff work hard to maintain a safe living environment in which students can study and still enjoy themselves. People moving into Baker House might have an inaccurate view about what student life is like in residence, but it’s nothing like the movie Old School.
Most of the volunteers during the move-in are UFV varsity athletes. The student athletes lend a helping hand and share words of wisdom, explaining to newcomers about their participation in one of UFV’s six sports programs: rowing, basketball, soccer, volleyball, golf, or cheerleading. This all contributes to an inclusive community for new students, who will hopefully feel inspired to cheer on their Cascades during the semester at the Envision Athletic Centre across the parking lot.
Of course, Mah couldn’t run Baker House by herself. The people working with Residence Services are a group of highly motivated individuals that tend to any and all issues as they arise. A large benefit to residents is the high staff to student ratio in Baker House. Having 202 students living in residence this year makes for a challenge; however, Residence Services works well with SUS and with Student Life to plan events and ensure the school semester will be more than just a mountain of homework.