New VIU students prepare for school

More than 1,000 new Vancouver Island University students got an idea of what to expect in the months to come at a student orientation day Thursday.

Patrick Ng

Patrick Ng

More than 1,000 new Vancouver Island University students got an idea of what to expect in the months to come at a student orientation day Thursday.

The event included campus tours, information tables where students could learn about all of the the services offered on campus, games, music and a free barbecue lunch.

The students were divided into groups based on their areas of study and got a chance meet the faculty in their programs.

Katherine Hensman, 18, is entering her first year of a bachelor of science in nursing.

The Ladysmith resident said the first day of classes will be less nerve-wracking for her because she met someone in her program on the tour, so there will be at least one familiar face.

Byron Miller, a Dover Bay Secondary School graduate enrolled in the general sciences program, attended the orientation to figure out where his classes were and how long it would take him to walk from one to another.

“I don’t know if I like all the stairs,” he said. “Getting to know some of the faculty was good, so you know who you can talk to if you’re having problems.”

Christopher Mihn, an international student from a village near Cologne in Germany, was enjoying his second week in Canada and thrilled with the Nanaimo campus, which he described as more natural and green than his campus in Germany.

Thursday was Sabrina Doberstein’s first day on the Nanaimo campus.

The 18-year-old from Black Creek felt more at ease after a student ambassador showed her around.

“Now that she’s explained it, it makes more sense,” said Doberstein. “It’s a lot bigger than I thought it was.”

She thinks the biggest adjustment to university life will be living on her own, as she’s from a big family and used to having lots of people around.

Dave Grant, 51, liked the 20 minutes of discussion his group had with the head of the information technology and applied systems program.

“He was showing us the classroom and telling us what we can expect,” he said, adding that he’ll probably have a million questions next week that he forgot to ask Thursday.

Joanna Hesketh, VIU’s coordinator of recruitment services, said 30 volunteer student ambassadors from different programs helped show the new students around all day.

“Last year we had about 1,000 students registered,” she said. “This year we had 1,250.”



University going bottled water-free

The VIU Students’ Union is teaming up with the university’s administration and labour groups to become the first bottled water-free university in B.C.

By next June, the institution will have switched completely to drinking fountains and filling stations.

“It’s going to take us a few months to wind down the sale of bottled water and to install additional filling stations,” said Steve Beasley, students’ union executive director.

The union has set aside money to fund between five and 10 new filling stations and there needs to be a discussion about how many are needed and where they will go.

A campaign to ban bottled water sales on campus was launched by the students’ union last fall, and half a year before that, an environmental group on campus was urging students to stop buying bottled water from the university’s vending machines.

Bottled water use has already been reduced by about 75 per cent on the Nanaimo campus since 2007.

In banning bottled water, VIU joins institutions like Trent University in Ryerson University in Ontario.