What’s Your Sense of Community

What’s Your Sense of Community
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He works at the gym. He loves the Raptors and he loves his school. Miguel Litonjua is a vibrant second-year community development student at Centennial College. In this student profile, he offers us more than just a glimpse into the student experience at one of the Centennial campuses, Ashtonbee.

How do you view your campus? 

ML: It’s definitely a smaller campus than most campuses around. They have a new part of the building, which is very nice and accessible to all the students. There are some good parts and bad parts of this campus. Though the campus is very small and needs a lot of renovating, I would say it’s a good campus out of all of them, especially if you are coming straight out of high school. Since it’s a smaller campus, there is a close tight-knit community, so you know a lot of people when you start going to school here.

What do you enjoy about your campus?

ML: Like I said before, being on campus you get to know a lot of people and since it’s smaller you see many people everyday. Even though, for a lot of people, it may seem that being a small campus is a bad campus…it’s actually pretty good. You won’t get lost for sure, and people are more helpful. The facilities are smaller, but since it’s a smaller campus, it doesn’t get as packed. I would say it’s an awesome environment to be in if you are a new student or new to the country.

How do you think your campus differs from the other ones?

ML: I would say more one-on-one teaching. There are not as many students in the classes. In first year, especially for human development, there are very little students, maybe 20 or 30, and it drops from there. So you get one-on-one teaching with the teacher, and they know your name. You really get to connect with your class. And you get more hands-on experience in my opinion, because the classes are smaller compared to the bigger classes at campuses like Progress or Morningside.

Do you ever go out in the community around your campus and what do you do?

ML: Unfortunately, from my knowledge, we don’t. But I know there is a club that’s starting up soon; It’s called Social Justice. It’s still in the works, but for sure our plan is to get everyone in Ashtonbee, no matter what program you are in, to talk about social justice and then hopefully get more in the community. But right now, as a campus, we don’t have any interaction with the community at all.

What is your favourite place on campus?

ML: Honestly, the gym, because I work there. It’s a very welcoming environment and we offer so many services. Everyone there is really cool and they’ll help you out no matter what. Unlike the student lounge, where it gets packed a lot, the gym is much bigger. There are more things you could do there: Ping Pong, Volleyball, Soccer, Field hockey. There are a lot of things going on that a lot of students don’t know about on this campus.

How is the campus tailored to your program?

ML: To be honest…the community studies on this campus is a small part of this campus. If you can see already, a lot of students here are in automotive and airplane mechanics, and they kind of threw the community programs in here. There are only three programs here: Social Work, ECE (Early Childhood Education), and Community Development. So we have mostly the upper floors, but I think there should be more diversity with programs on this campus. You can feel isolated here with all the automotive students since they are for sure the majority of the whole campus. So there isn’t much going on with the community studies when it comes to groups, clubs, and even events.

What kind of program specific features are there that aid in your success and experience?

ML: There are so many features here at Centennial. There is academic English help, which is in the library. They are always open to feedback, and you can bring your work and they will help you with citations, academic writing, essays…They are really accessible for students and they are really open in their marketing too for students with disabilities, which I know for sure helps so many students here. There is also counselling, which is very marketed. It’s always in all the classes, and they always come by every year to tell us about their services. So I feel welcomed to go to all their services.

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How do you view your campus?

CK: The campus is pretty nice. It’s not all that big, but compact… Where you have smaller class sizes that are pretty nice. You don’t have labs or classes that have lots of people, you have smaller sections of like 24 for the lab which makes it pretty easy. The campus is accessible, which is another very nice thing about the campus.

ON: The most important thing is the fact that the campus is accessible. On the other side of it, sometimes I feel the campus is a bit shortchanged to the main campus (Progress Campus). There seems to be less student activities… Since there is not much space for activities to be organized, so most of things have to be moved to the main campus. So sometimes it’s a problem to get to Progress Campus to do whatever, then that’s the part I feel the campus is a bit disadvantaged.

The other part, I love the way the campus is, since most of the programs that interlink are all together in a campus. It aids students to relate among themselves, because you take courses with people from different programs, not just biotechnology or environmental sciences.

What do you enjoy about your campus?

CK: The campus is unique, prior to coming to the campus I was expecting something really huge. When I came to the campus it was very unique… everything at the campus was very nice and it is good for studying. You have places that you can study, a very good library, very good (silent) study areas, group study areas. The campus is unique, it’s not big, but it’s very compact, everything you need is basically in the campus education wise.

ON: The best thing about the campus is the network in terms of the program you are studying. You get to meet everyone because you don’t have a whole expanse of different buildings where you have to go meet people for different things. Everyone is all together, so you can always meet people on the higher levels easily, you don’t need to go too far to see someone in 3rd semester when you are still in the first semester. So it helps academic performance. I think it’s easier to perform better when you are at this campus.

How do you think your campus differs from the other ones?

CK: Morningside has this vibe, you pretty much know a huge population of everyone, because it’s like a close knit family. In the biotech program you get to do courses with those in food sciences, you get to do courses with those in environmental (sciences), you get to network and share opinions. I believe the campus is more unique, more compact, people are closer. You can actually see someone and you know they are actually Morningside… because of the size, it’s small, but it’s mighty. You can say you know most people on the campus.

ON: The social level is not the same thing (as Progress), but the academic delivery and accessibility to professors is the best.

Do you ever go out in the community around your campus and what do you do? 

ON: Once in awhile we usually go out for volunteering, we go build playgrounds… and sometimes, in the same volunteer program, we join our friends in the environmental program and go clean up Morningside Park.

CK: The community is very nice, I volunteer and see one or two places. Especially during the Pan Am Games and… I was involved during Toronto Pride. The community always loves people to give back. 

What is your favourite place on campus?

CK: The cafeteria and Tim Hortons, the one upstairs without the lines.

ON: My chemistry lab and the library. The library is pretty small, but the way it is divided into two different sections, you get whatever feel you want in the same small place. You have a very silent place and you have a study room where people can contribute and learn more from others. So you always expect people to be talking there. As much as it is a small place, I really appreciate the way they have it divided into two different sections. It makes  more sense when you work there.

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How do you view your campus?

FS: I love my campus and I am proud to be at the Progress Campus, it has helped me so far for three years doing my Business Administration Management  and Leadership program.  More than anything I have been grateful for the campus. Those helping international students are fantastic, they always help. If they can’t help us they will refer us to someone who can. Even the professors I have had so far have been really fantastic, because they have been helping me. So far I don’t have any complaints. The campus is good and there are so many opportunities for young people to explore themselves and to learn more about themselves. It’s a good opportunity to be at Centennial and to be at Progress Campus. Choose your course and be successful in the future.

What do you enjoy about your campus ? 

FS: When I come here it’s loaded with people, so it’s good to see them. Also I enjoy studying here, they have specific rooms for us so we can group study. They have the silent room study, so whenever I am uncomfortable doing something at home, I just want to come here and do my homework. Apart from that, there are also so many computer labs. So for people who don’t have that facility at home for computers, they can come here and study.

How do you think your campus differs from the other ones ? 

FS: This campus is the main campus and on top of that it has a bigger place here, there are more facilities here and all events go on at the Progress Campus. We have more business studies going on at Progress Campus. We have different offices and also we have engineering studies. You will see more people coming here rather than at Ashtonbee Campus or Morningside Campus as this is the main campus.

Do you ever go out in the community around your campus and what do you do ? 

FS: Frankly speaking, I don’t do that. I have so many other things going on, I study, work and I have other events and projects that I deal with. Generally I don’t get time… I basically don’t have experience in that and I don’t often go that way.

What is your favourite place on campus ?

FS: My silent study room and I would love all the different study rooms that we have, I love to be there and also the computer lab on the 3rd floor, that’s a favourite spot of mine. I would love to go there and be seated there. Even if I have  to do some other work, I would love to be at that spot.

How is the campus tailored to your program ? What kind of program-specific features are there that aid in your success and experience ?  

FS: My program is actually business administration management and leadership… The best part we also had was presentations, that has helped me a lot to gain my own confidence, to bring myself up and how to speak in public and how to present yourself in front of people, how to be professionally dressed. The professors were amazing. Different programs that I deal with, even in marketing how to promote a product and how to deal with your customers. That has helped me  tremendously  where I work with lots of different projects. There is three years, every year and every day I have learned some of the other things, so there is tremendous growth happening.

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It’s no secret that landing a job with a humanities degree can be tough. With this in mind, after completing her Master’s degree in History, Stephanie Murphy decided to take a couple of years to work and figure out what she wanted to do. She quickly realized how much she loves working with people and decided to enroll in the Corporate Communications and Public Relations program at the Story Arts Centre. For Stephanie, the graduate certificate programs offered at Centennial College are a valuable option for bridging the gap between academia and the practical world. Her ultimate goal is to link public relations with her love for history by making it more accessible to people. Even though she’s open to exploring different options, she mostly sees herself working for a museum doing community engagement.

Stephanie generously agreed to share with us her experience as a student at the Story Arts Centre.

How do you view your campus?

SM: It’s small and I really like it. Before taking this program at the Story Arts Centre, I studied at Huron University College, which is part of Western University in London. Everything there is in one building also, and that’s something that I like a lot.

What do you enjoy about your campus?

SM: I love the courtyard outside. Especially in September when they’re having some of the events such as the Corn Roast Day or the Beer Festival. I like the cafeteria too and how it’s set up. The round tables are really good for group discussions. Also, although I don’t have a locker I like the idea of having one because it makes everything easier in the winter.

How do you think your campus differs from the other ones?

SM: There is more of a sense of a community here, I think, because all of the programs are linked. I’ve heard some people mention how most of the clubs and sports facilities are at the other campuses, but the Story Arts Centre is more geared towards the communications programs and storytelling. In that sense, this campus is more about building a community instead of having all the programs in one place.

Do you ever go out in the community around your campus and what do you do? 

SM: I actually live on the Danforth, on Arundel Avenue. It’s just a ten-minute walk from my place to school and I love it. I absolutely love this area. Especially for me coming from London, which is much more residential, I feel like this is a good transition area. There’s a lot of homes so you don’t really feel like you’re in Toronto as much as you do in other places. I also enjoy going to all the nice restaurants around here, there’s a lot of variety. Something I particularly like is to walk around and see all the trees that surround the area. But most importantly, I love how safe I feel in this neighbourhood. That’s something that I feel very fortunate about.

How is the Story Arts Centre tailored to your program? What kind of program-specific features are there that aid in your success and experience? 

SM: It’s amazing that we have access to the resources of the other communications and storytelling programs. For one of my classes, for example, we had to do a podcast and Jules (Elder) from the radio program came and showed us the equipment we could use and told us that the recording studio was also available for us if we needed it. It’s nice to have all of that in one place. I’ve also found that Project Fusion is an excellent opportunity to get all of the programs in this campus to work together. I’m looking forward to working with photographers and journalists and with people from other programs because that’s what we’re going to be doing in the real world. 

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