Clutches of students newly arrived on campus had an orientation tour of TRU Tuesday, seeing Kamloops from an unusual perspective — drenched in rain.
Guides and about 30 students huddled from the steady drizzle under a small canopy outside Old Main Building on the first day of fall semester, awaiting their appointed tour time.
Only one carried an umbrella because, as every tourist knows, it almost never rains in Kamloops.
“We’ve actually never held campus tours like this, but this is a pretty good turnout,” said Reta Langlands, student recruiter and enrolment representative.
About 1,300 students were expected to show up on Tuesday in preparation for initial classes on Wednesday. New students took the opportunity to familiarize themselves with all the ins and outs of campus life.
Chris Adam, dean of students, said there are two objectives in greeting new arrivals, the first being to acknowledge them as mature individuals — bringing with them unique passion and aspirations — while making them feel part of the campus community.
“They’re not just empty vessels,” Adam said. Hence, the welcoming slogan, hash-tagged and tweeted — “Bring your thing.”
The other tour objective is to open as many doors as possible: “They can go to any door to ask questions.”
Tour guide Jamie Oetter, a third-year business administration co-op student, provided a wealth of knowledge, some vital, some trivial, yet all of it worth filing somewhere upstairs in a student’s catalogue of things you may eventually need to know.
Where to get a student card? Where to get coffee? Where to buy textbooks? And why leave the plastic on the text until the first class?
“We have a wellness centre and they’re available Monday to Friday … We also have a medical centre on campus, and we have a health and dental plan … so you have access to medical and dental, which is really sweet.”
The short, clockwise tour took about an hour and covered the basics.
“After you’ve been a TRU student for one semester, you have access to all awards and scholarships,” Oetter said, standing outside the student awards and financial department.
“How many of you guys know what a co-op is? This is a really cool opportunity. It’s kind of a job in your field of study. Definitely apply if it’s available.”
From Old Main they headed for the library, but didn’t go in.
“I’ll be honest,” Oetter said. “I’ve never signed out a book here. I’m all about online reading.”
The path to the mind generally runs through the stomach, so the next stop was the Scratch Market, part of the service side of the culinary arts program: “It’s actually a really good place to eat a meal. Everything’s fresh and local.”
Then it was the Science Building and adjoining gym, and the TRU Fitness program: “It’s really awesome. Like, they kick your butt.”
A string of houses recycled from a wartime base in Kamloops: “Some of these buildings actually have bullet holes in them, which is kind of cool.”
They learned that there’s a two-year wait for child care services and that there’s a separate entrance and exit for the Irving K. Barber Centre, specifically built for First Nations ceremonies. What do they symbolize?
“It’s a natural thing,” Oetter hinted, prompting some guesses.
Life? One way? Eating?
“It’s not that deep — east and west,” she answered.
“You can email a selfie for a student card,” she continued, passing a lineup in the Campus Activity Centre. “I really recommend the selfie route.”
Then, of course, a panoramic view of the city, usually impressive, though not on this day.
“It’s kind of cloudy right now. Geographically, we’re about the size of Manhattan. We have a couple less residents.”
Oetter managed to hold her group’s attention for the entire tour, tying together services, locations and valuable tips.
“Getting to know the different buildings for different programs, I like that,” said Shemaiah Balazo from Quesnel.
“I still really don’t know where I’m going,” another student confided.
Yes, the first day remains the first day for many — organized chaos.