Six Reasons to Get Involved with Your College

Posted by York & U on August 16, 2018


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York University is one of only three universities in Canada to offer a College system. A College system within a university has many benefits, including building your social and academic networks, encouraging student learning and advancement, fostering a sense of belonging, learning the skill set necessary to earn your degree and using your College’s resources throughout your time at York U.

Haven’t heard of the College system concept? Well, let me give you an overview…

How Does York U’s College System Work?

Your College is your home base within the greater York U Community where you can make friends, integrate into a larger community of people with shared interests and get academic help. York U’s Colleges offers services ranging from peer mentoring to workshops about career opportunities for your degree.

When you are admitted to York U, you will be assigned a College based on your program and/or chosen residence. You are free to change your College affiliation at any time after the first two weeks of classes, though only one change of affiliation is permitted per year.

Bethune, part of the York U College system, flag with four orange-yellow to yellow stripes sandwiched between a wide blue vertical stripe on the left and a wide white stripe on the right. Calumet College banner Founders flag, part of the York U College system
Bethune Calumet Founders
Glendon emblem, part of the York U College system McLaughlin flag, part of the York U College system New flag, part of the York U College system
Glendon McLaughlin New College
Stong College banner Vanier flag, part of the York U College system Winters College banner
Stong Vanier Winters
There are nine colleges across York U’s campuses and each College has their own banner.

The nine Colleges often collaborate on large College events such as The Torch competition – the prize for the top intramural team! In addition to larger events, individual Colleges offer in-house game nights, workshops, meet-and-greets and more. Your College also provides great volunteer opportunities (e.g. Founders College’s Existere Journal of Arts & Literature) and potential employment (e.g. College-oriented Work/Study positions offered through CLAY) to help you develop your professional portfolio!

Visit York U’s Program Affiliations page for program-specific affiliations!

What are the Advantages of Affiliating Yourself and Engaging with a York U College?

The College system provides members with a lot of great advantages, including the six great benefits mentioned below:

1) Attend O-Week and York Orientation Day!

Orientation Week, also referred to as O-Week or Frosh Week, runs from September 1 to 9 and has activities organized by your College’s O-Chair and led by Frosh Leaders (student leaders from each College) and the University! O-Week is a perfect time to get know people from your College in a casual and lively atmosphere!

York Orientation Day is part of O-Week and takes place on September 4. At York Orientation Day you can learn about the University and Colleges, familiarize yourself with the resources available and meet people in your program and College!

Students celebrating o-week (run in association with the York U College system)
Learn more about York Orientation Day in next week’s #YUBlog post, “Your Guide to York Orientation Day”!

2) Use academic services offered by your College to help guide you through University life.

Each College has peer support services to help you with your academic concerns. Browse through the list of Peer Leadership Programs at York University to find your College’s program and be sure to check out the #YUBlog’s post, “Keep Calm and Get Peer Support,” to learn more about the many peer support options for Lions!

Students sitting around a table working on a project.
Peer Leaders and other peer support services are here to help you succeed.

3) Meet people in similar programs and with shared interests.

Each College brings together students from a certain area of study. Bethune, for example, is affiliated with Science and Engineering programs, offering students lots of opportunities to get to know one another, discuss program-related matters and further develop their mutual interests. Each College houses a large variety of Student Clubs that can be found through York U’s YU Connect – get involved today!

Success Tip: You can also connect with you College online, by email and through social media to keep up to date on College programming and events!

York Engineering Competition poster (part of Bethune College)
Join the Lassonde Engineering Society or visit their website to learn more about the York Engineering Competition!

2) Feel like a big fish in a small pond versus a small fish in a big sea.

I cannot stress enough how awesome it is to go from running around campus feeling like “a small fish in a big sea” to coming to your College to visit, relax and enjoy the cozy, welcoming environment. Your College also gives you the chance to become a leader in the YU Community by joining your College Council, becoming a Peer Tutor or a Peer Mentor to help other students achieve academic success or getting involved with College intramurals!

York U College Intramural's logo (intramurals are organized through the York U College system)
York U’s College Intramurals are a wonderful way to meet people within the College system and stay active!

3) Take part in College-hosted academic and social events!

As a member of a College, you have the chance to participate in various academic events such as connecting with Alumni about your career options (e.g. Career Exploration at Calumet & Stong) and developing your peer leadership skills. You can also attend social events at discounted prices – including trips to Niagara Falls or Montréal, watching a musical or attending a basketball game!

The best part about these trips is the energy and excitement that comes with travelling with your own YU family. Each College also puts on its own events, such as New College’s free Hump Day Café or McLaughlin’s Robbie Burns Poetry Contest!

Students, faculty and staff pictured standing around at New College's, York U College, Hump Day Cafe.
Attending College-hosted events is a great way to meet other College members and make friends!

6) Live in residence and meet with Dons to make you feel more at home.

The Residence Dons living in your residence help create a “home-y” feeling. These senior-student staff members guide you in your transition to university life by addressing your academic concerns and providing tips and advice about roommate conflicts and stress management.

In addition to the Residence Dons, each of the York U College Residences offers a distinct vibe and community environment. For example, the entire Calumet College was explicitly chosen to recognize and honour Canada’s Indigenous heritage and the Indigenous connection at York U.

Calumet, a York U College, has a mural painted in their common room with the animals that their buildings are named after.
This mural in Calumet’s common room features all of the animals after which the College Residence buildings are named.

Success Tip: If you want to immerse yourself in a different kind of atmosphere, you can change your College Affiliation by submitting a College Affiliation Change Form online. Many students with a love for music, for example, choose to change their College affiliation to Winters College for their vibrant, artistic community!

Now that you are armed with all of the great advantages to College Life at York U, I hope to see you going for The Torch at your College intramurals games or enjoying a quiet board-game night with your College-mates. There’s something for everyone, and we can’t wait to meet you!

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below or tweet us at @YorkUStudents.

This post is updated from Arshia’s earlier #YUBlog post, “Colleges within a University.”

Note: Vanier College was without a College Head at time of publication.