Both new and returning students attending the Prince Rupert campus of Northwest Community College crowded into the school’s library on Wednesday for their new-year orientation.
The half-hour presentation was given mostly by campus manager Wendy Prystay, who welcomed the students to the new academic year after they were also officially welcomed to Tsimshian territory by elder Mona Alexi.
“Welcome to the returning staff, faculty, and students to what I’m sure will be an exciting year; a challenging year but filled with
new learning and new opportunities,” said Prystay the packed library.
According to Prystay, as of last Friday there were 269 new first-year students signed up for college-level classes, mostly from Prince Rupert but some from northern communities such as Terrace and Kitimat, and even some international students from Chile and China.
Emily Rudderham is like the majority of the first-year students at NWCC in that she is originally from Prince Rupert. She says that she didn’t go to the college just because it is so close by, she wanted to take the college’s Applied Coastal Ecology program.
“The program really fit my interests, it was right up my alley. Plus it’s cost effective as well so it seemed like a good fit…After I’m done here, I’m going to Royal Roads to pursue environmental conservation,” says Rudderham.
There are 106 students taking high school equivalency courses through the college’s Career and College Prep program, which Prystay says is an enrollment that is slightly higher than last year. Prystay says that the school is pleasantly surprised by the increase in CCP students because there had been some concern that enrollment would actually decrease due to government cuts.
“There’s been a lack of funding around and people are losing their EI capabilities so they are losing funding. But there are other sources of funding around,” says Prystay.
New to the college this year are the info-screen system that displays notices and announcements on TV screens found all over the building, and there is a brand new course on Community Mental Health, where there are still spots available.
During the orientation representatives from the Student Union were on hand to give the students a day planner from the Canadian Federation of Students that included a list of services that are provided to them from Student Union. They also encouraged the students to get involved in the Rock the Vote campaign that they were promoting in anticipation of the upcoming municipal election.
While the campaign is still in its early stages, Student Union organizer Mikael Jensen says that one of the major issues for students will be public transit.
After the meeting, students participated in a scavenger hunt meant to help them know where all the services available to them are located around the city.