For many students, the Western experience is all about numbers. There are 4,000 students in 8 residences on campus. There are 75 buildings on main campus. There are 7 libraries on main campus. There are 12 different faculties and schools offering 60 different degree/diploma options. With only 24 hours in a day, how does one student set himself or herself apart from the other 27,621 students on campus and become a face instead of a number?
Renu Kanga, assistant coordinator for university transitional programs at the Centre for New Students, stated, “Western is a large school, but it’s broken down into lots of smaller communities. Each time [a student] finds a new area of interest here, [he or she] enters into a new community.”
The Centre for New Students aids in this process by offering the Leadership and Mentorship Program, or LAMP. The program connects first year students with upper-year mentors in their home faculties. Kanga explained that this creates a mutually beneficial relationship: “The new student has a person to turn to who knows their name and face, and can introduce them to everything Western has to offer. In turn, the mentor develops as a leader through giving back to the community.”
How does one create a sense of personal belonging? “Students are growing and developing that sense each day with each experience they create for themselves,” Kanga concluded.