Every year, Student Recruitment and Advising hosts Destination UBC — an event that allows admitted students to experience the UBC Okanagan campus first-hand. This year, things looked a bit different with physical distancing policies in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Destination UBC is designed to introduce students to the learning community and student experience at UBC to help them to decide whether UBC Okanagan is a good fit for them.
With the help of student coordinators and peer leaders, Destination UBC welcomed over 240 participants to a virtual community hosted on Discord. The event ran from April 24 to May 7, and the community of students has continued to stay connected since then.
The Destination UBC Discord server allowed participants to join sub-groups based on their program, to connect with fellow first-year and current students (in big and small group sessions), and to ask questions about transitioning to UBC’s Okanagan campus. Of all the programming provided, the most popular were the social nights: Virtual Game Nights, Paint Night, Faculty Q&A Session and spaces just to hang out and get to know other students. For the first time, we held a session on Mental Health and Wellbeing and it was well-received.
All admitted students (including transfer students) who self-identify as Indigenous were also invited to attend our roster of events for Indigenous students. These events ran from April 13 to May 18. While exploring student life at both UBC campuses students participated in social activities like yoga, beading circles and weekly tea time discussions.
Charmaine Shea and Pierre Frigon, this year’s student coordinators had this to say about the virtual event:
“It’s safe to say that we accomplished our goal in that many connections were made and a community was formed virtually! With countless laughs, amazing conversations, and memories, this community brought ease to students and made them feel welcomed before stepping onto campus.”
“It has been my privilege to get to know a lot of the participants. The online format has hopefully eased the nerves of those that have a hard time meeting people quickly, and enabled them to create connections that can propel them into a great first year!”