First Year Council improves student experience

By Emily Macphail

Currently in its first semester, the First Year Council was an idea thought up by the Leadership and Student Engagement office’s coordinator of leadership and training programs, Camille de Lacy.
At the time, de Lacy was acting as coordinator of orientation and First Year Experience, a position now held by Meg Martin.

Kelsey Hamill, a third-year English and history major and leadership ambassador in the office, researched and created the proposal for the project, which is now funded through the office.

According to Hamill, the mandate of the council focuses on improving the experience of first-year students at the University of Calgary through both promotion of class unity and gathering feedback from students about their first year experience so that improvements can be made. Hamill says that the council serves a dual purpose – along with aiming to improve the first-year experience of students, it also provides opportunity for leadership roles for first-year students, positions which aren’t always easy to come by.

FYC President Jasmine Chitroda, who joined because she thought that it would be a great way to get involved with the university more, said that “[the Council] has been a great way to mingle with people from other faculties.”

Director of communications Benny Giang, a first-year business student, also feels that being on the council has been a great experience. “I’ve been able to do something creative, play my music, work with people and come up with great ideas. It has been good really just learning to work with a team.”

The council is currently composed of five executives and eight students-at-large. Although the exact process for determining new members is not yet determined, the membership of the council will change yearly to reflect each incoming class.

Earlier in the semester, FYC held a meet-and-greet for students to allow students to get to know council members better. The event attracted about 40 students. On April 4, the group hosted its larger year-end event. Entitled “the EPIC Experience,” the event had a carnival theme and included face-painting, henna, cotton candy and popcorn, a balloon artist and a movie screening.

According to Hamill, the event was a collaboration of ideas from the whole council.

Nolan Hill, a first-year history and philosophy student and student-at-large on the council, said “we talked about how we all loved our O-Week experience and how awesome it was to see everyone having fun together, and we thought ‘why not do it again?’”

Over 100 students attended the evening.

Both Hill and Giang agree that seeing “the EPIC experience” come together has been the best part of being involved with the Council.

“We put in a lot of planning and seeing this event be a success was awesome,” said Hill.

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