The open house brings together staff and students

Photo by Shana Fillatrau

Even on a rainy day, Durham College was still full of smiles. The college’s open house on March 25 gave potential students a look into college life and what DC has to offer.

Before the event began, staff and student volunteers worked together to get the open house ready for their guests.

The pit was a sea of green. Volunteers gathered to set up their booths. Each school was represented, including Business, IT and Management; Media, Art and Design; Continuing Education, and more.

A temporary installation in the Pit included a virtual reality simulator, demonstrating the cutting-edge technology Durham College’s game development program has to offer. Paramedic students enjoyed trying out the tech as people watched with interest.

At the Gordon Willey entrance, Durham College’s president Don Lovisa met with attendees. He smiled, proudly wearing his Durham College tie.

The difference between this year’s open house and last, he said, is the focus on Durham College’s 50th anniversary. The college started in 1967 with 205 students. Fifty years later, the college has more than 30,000 full and part-time students.

Lovisa said the goal of the open house was for students to get a sense of the college and understand it by doing more than just researching it on the website.

“I want them to feel like they belong. I want them feel that they, that this is the place they should go to school. They find the program they want, they find the energy they want here,” he said.

He said there are new programs available at the college this year. These include, Message Therapy and Office Admin – Real Estate.

Two Durham College students, Valerie Kane and Kaitlen Coburn, are three weeks away from finishing their program, Accounting and Payroll. They are among the first run of students to graduate.

Coburn said she and Kane attended last year’s open house and were asked to volunteer again this year by a professor. Kane said they agreed to because they wanted to advertise their program.

“I think because it’s a new program, you sort of want new students to realize this is an opportunity and an avenue they can take aside from just the regular accounting program, so it’s something additional that can give you a benefit into the job force later on,” Kane said about her program, in which there are only nine enrolled this year.

Moving to the Student Services Building, there were booths promoting the different services available at Durham College, such as FastStart, Financial Aid and the Aboriginal Student Centre. There were also information sessions available for the Access and Support Centre, Career Planning and Admissions.

Student volunteers got a pizza lunch in the cafeteria to thank them for their help. They looked tired and hungry after a long day of promoting their programs, talking to possible future students and giving campus tours. Green was everywhere from their shirts to the posters and signs.

The open house happens twice a year and helps students interested in going to Durham College to see all that it has to offer. It also brings staff and students together to organize and execute the open house.