Over 500 students filled the gym at Georgian College for Campus Life Day, the first in-person orientation held at the school since December 2019.
“I think it’s incredible. You see, folks are just so excited to be back in person,” says student Mariana Lima.
Throughout the pandemic, the College held virtual events instead.
“Our virtual events were really successful, but you absolutely don’t get to feel the energy in the room like you do right now,” says peer development coordinator Aisha O’Connor.
Several activities and vendors were set up to prepare students for their first day on Monday.
“A lot of our supports and services, really all those areas that students need to get familiar with. We also have student clubs over here, our student association,” says O’Connor.
The College will also see a slight increase in in-person classes this semester.
“Approximately 40 per cent of those will be in face-to-face learning because the courses require specific learning outcomes, and 60 per cent will be in different formats of remote learning,” says associate vice president academic Maher Ghalayini.
Masks will still be required on campus, but since April 23, the College no longer requires students to show proof of vaccination. More staff will also be returning to campus this summer.
“We do have a flex work policy that allows staff to work remotely. However, every department will have in-person services provided to students as well,” says Ghalayini.
Many students say they prefer in-person learning for the social aspect as well.
“In this last year, I have made good connections coming on campus. I know most of them. I even connected with my president, which is amazing,” says student Taniya Shrivastav.
Over 5,000 students are registered for the summer semester, which runs until the end of August.
The College hopes that classes will be fully available in person by fall, but it all depends on public health measures.