Students digging their digs at The George

Residence is about building “soft skills,” says student life director 

The George was bustling this past Saturday as George Brown College (GBC) welcomed almost 400 new and returning students with a move-in day full of activities.

For many students, starting college implies the beginning of a new life away from home. Anne Sado, president of GBC, understands this and wanted to be present supporting the students in their first day at the residence.

“The George is the residence, but we also want to make it a part of their student life at the college, so this is about creating a community that supports college,” Sado said.

To create a community, the college organizes activities throughout the year, starting the very first day. 

“Right away we have a couple of parents’ sessions, so we can answer their concerns and any stresses that they have and we can help solve,” said Gerard Hayes, director of student experience at the college. “We have lots of activities throughout the day and then we have a big event tonight where they all gather, just to help them socialize.”

For the second year, students accepted at The George had access to an online tool to help them find a roommate. Students created profiles and the tool calculated their best matches. Residents then had the option to chat with each other, and pick their roommates before move-in day.

“(With the tool) I’ve been talking to my roommate, I’ve been talking to a few other people from the building,” said Taylor Verhoeven. “So I made a couple of new friends already.” 

Verhoeven recently transferred to George Brown and came all the way from Windsor to move into The George. She’s hoping she’ll meet a lot of people. 

For Joseph Thomas, a first year student in the culinary management program, the location, near where he grew up, is a big plus. 

“The area is really nice. I grew up just 10 or 15 minutes away down Lakeshore, so it’s going to be a great experience,” he said.

Melanie Bulfon is returning to The George this year. Photo: Natalia Pizarro / The Dialog

Melanie Bulfon, a second year student of gerontology, is returning to The George. 

“It’s very close to my campus, it’s like a 15-minutes walk, and they pretty much have everything that you need.” 

She said she also met a lot of people and used the online tool to find a roommate.

While The George aims help students make friends, another important goal is to guide them to build their people skills. 

“It’s one thing to learn inside the classroom, but the soft skills that you learn from living in the community are tremendous,” said Hayes. “Team work, communication, how to get along with other people, and problem solving, those things are so key and residence is such an important part in helping them support that.”

This is just the second year of the residence and the demand is already high. Hayes said that the residence received about 1,500 applications for the 500 available beds.

But there’s still some hope for those applying to live at The George. In January 2018, Hayes said there will be some rooms opening up.

Because of the high demand, students are encouraged to apply early through The George’s website.

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Students digging their digs at The George