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To the first years: what you need to know about UFV

University is what you make it. I know this sounds trite, but it couldn’t be more true.

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By Jennifer Colbourne (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: August 21, 2012

University is what you make it.

I know this sounds trite, but it couldn’t be more true.

UFV is growing, but it is essentially still a small school. In many ways, it is like a small town: everyone knows each other and there’s not that much going on – compared to a school like, say, UBC. But believe it or not, this is the best thing about the University of the Fraser Valley.

I’ve known a number of students over the years that have left bigger schools for UFV because they’ve just gotten so lost in the crowd – a number, not a name. Neither their professors nor the institution cared about them, or for that matter even knew they existed. During my time at UFV, I’ve gone for coffee with many of my professors, and even to a few of their houses. If you need help, they won’t hesitate to give it to you. If you have talent, they will encourage it. Classes are small, and discussion can be involving and stimulating. What more could a student ask for?

And while there are technically more clubs and events happening at big schools, it’s much harder to be a part of them. Here, if you want to write at The Cascade, you simply have to go to a writer’s meeting. You want to DJ at CIVL? Just go talk to CIVL. It’s so easy. We welcome volunteers wholeheartedly, rather than forming elite cliques that force people out. Best of all, if you want to found the first UFV Nerf War club, you can. SUS and Student Life will give you both funds and resources to do so, provided you get enough people to show interest. And really, there’s enough going on that there’s no worry you’ll run out of things to do on campus.

There are of course drawbacks to a small school. Food options, for one, are rather limited, unless you’re a really big fan of Sodexo. UFV is a commuter school, which makes it much harder to bring students together. Transit—especially if you live outside Abbotsford or Chilliwack—is tricky, if not impossible, yet finding parking on busy days is diabolically difficult. For the last year our struggling “pub” has been right out of Footloose (that’s right, no dancing allowed), and whether or not they’ll stay afloat, never mind get the right liquor license for actual party nights, remains a big question mark. Still, the bigger our school gets, the better these problems are dealt with. The new SUB building, for starters, is certainly something to look forward to.

I’ve had the opportunity to do some pretty awesome stuff during my time at UFV from 2005-2012. In my time, I’ve helped run the SOLAR club, the Anarchy club (yes, the name is ironic), the English Students Association, the Louden Singletree and The Cascade. I’ve also been able to work for Student Life, Baker House Residence, and two professors as a research assistant. Yes, I came away from UFV with an English Honours degree, but that’s not really what I came away with. What I came away with was a ton of friends and the experiences of a lifetime.

I sincerely hope that you too can enjoy your time at UFV as completely as I have.

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