High school students encouraged to ‘Think Arts’ with annual event

Volunteers were out all day Saturday to assist the incoming students. (Photo by Ryan Hueglin)
Volunteers were out all day Saturday to assist the incoming students. (Photo by Ryan Hueglin)

On Saturday, high school students visited Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) to explore the arts at the third annual Think Arts Day. Students who have been offered admission into an arts program at Laurier were invited to attend and take a closer look at what the faculty of arts has to offer.

“When we launched the project two years ago, it was the first time that I felt that the faculty of arts had an identity,” explained Mercedes Rowinsky-Geurts, who helped organise the event with Recruitment. “I think it empowered us to develop this idea of who we are and anchor us within the institution.”

Rowinsky-Geurts is also the associate dean of student affairs and special projects, as well as the faculty of arts and is an associate professor of Spanish. Approximately 65 students attended with their parents, which she said was a comparable number to previous years.

“I prefer it to be small,” she continued. “Then you have the time to exchange ideas with [students] and ask questions. Large open houses make it impossible to talk to people.”

The day began with an orientation promo and welcome from the dean of arts, Michael Carroll. Students were then given a selection of 15 minute mini-lectures, three of which they could attend, that would give them a glimpse into different disciplines and the style of lectures at Laurier.

Lectures were followed by a student and alumni panel, lunch, and campus and residence tours. Throughout, students were given the opportunity to interact with professors, academic advisors, and the dean.

“It’s sort of a last chance before the early June decision date to give people a sense of what the faculty is about,” explained Carroll. “What we offer in this faculty, what is distinct in this faculty compared to other faculties.”

According to Rowinsky-Geurts, when the group was asked who had yet to accept their offer, more than half raised their hands. To Carroll, this makes the event particularly important as it influences the decision many students will soon be making to either attend Laurier or enroll elsewhere.

“It allowed us the chance to showcase not just the things that we do that other universities do, like having an English program, having a film studies program, having a language program,” Carroll went on. “But also the things that we do that are relatively: unique- first year seminars, residence learning communities …This is a chance to explain what those are.”

Blake Dulcharme, a high school student who attended Think Arts Day, has been accepted into the sociology program at Laurier and provided his reason for coming out to the event.

“I’m on the edge of picking my university,” he explained. “And Laurier is one of my top ones. I wanted to see the campus and the school and the environment here.”

Tim Caskey, who has been accepted into history, also attended the event as he had yet to make a decision.

“I think it was pretty good,” said Caskey. “It’s all organised, how they show the classes. Because you always wonder what it’s going to be like going to classes. And there’s a lot of professors around to talk to if you have any questions.”

Carroll also gave positive comments about the day.

“The day has been fantastic. Everything has clicked into place,” he said. “The feedback I’m getting from people who attended lectures … they’ve been blown away.”

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