The University of Manitoba held its first open house on campus since the start of the pandemic on Oct. 25. Booths from all faculties and study programs were at the event, where they showcased the different opportunities available to incoming students.
Additionally, current students and professors at the university were there to help guide and inform parents and students that attended.
For the past two years, the University of Manitoba’s open house event was held virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, now that the university has resumed in-person classes it was able to hold a hybrid version of the open house event, which accommodated students wanting to attend virtually or in person.
Faculty of arts communication specialist Amber Ostermann said that the event included a variety of undergrad and graduate students as well as professors, who worked together to provide information to booth visitors.
“Hearing from current students helps provide understanding of what things will really be like once a student begins at U of M,” Ostermann said.
She explained that the main booth was occupied by both academic advisors and student representatives, who greeted attendees and used handouts and QR codes to refer them to the U of M website for additional information.
Ostermann said that one of the main goals of the event for the faculty of arts was to provide potential students with resources and information to help them decide which courses to take in their first year.
She also commented on how there were higher rates of attendance compared to the last in-person open house held before the pandemic, and added that the event remained busy throughout the night.
“Usually, what you find is that in the last hour or half-hour attendance starts to drop, and it still did a little bit this time, but there were people, students and parents, in visiting booths right up until 8 p.m.,” Ostermann said.
Charley Williams, a second-year political studies student, was among the student volunteers who participated in the event. She explained that during the open house, she talked to high school students about the benefits of being a political studies major, as well as the potential opportunities available post-graduation.
The return of an in-person open house gives incoming students the opportunity to experience the U of M campus and university life, something that many first and second-year students did not learn about until this year.
When asked about how her experience with in-person classes compared to learning online last year, Williams said that she felt like the year had been great so far, and that she has felt a lot of support from both the faculty and her professors.
“During COVID, it was a little bit more difficult to feel connected with my professors and with my classmates because it’s just obviously over a computer screen,” she said.
“Being in person is so nice because it’s like, ‘oh, we all have the same interests,’ and we can talk about things after class. We can debate and discuss in person.”
The university is planning to have two more open house events this year. A virtual open house for international students is scheduled to be held on Jan. 18, while a second in-person event is set to take place Feb. 23.