New residences offer unique alternatives

This September, Wilfrid Laurier University will open its fourth residence life learning community: the Global Engagement Community (GEC) at 102 Albert St.

“The goal is to create an environment for students to engage in some cross-cultural dialogue and current issue education and exploration,” said Dave Shorey, GEC Residence Life Area Coordinator (RLAC).

The GEC is the only residence Laurier offers to senior and graduate students, and will be led by graduate advisor Miriam Fine.

“I am there in an advisory capacity to facilitate the GEC,” said Fine. “I’m there to ensure everyone is comfortable in the space, and everyone is getting to know one another. I’m also working on the social and personal development aspects [of the house],” said Fine.

The other three learning communities at Laurier are only for first-year students and include the active living community (located in Bricker residence), the leadership community (Regina St. residence) and the business and economics community (Waterloo College Hall).

“What we would really like to do with these learning communities is equip students to take what they’re learning in their communities and share it with the rest of the residence community and the Laurier community at large,” said Shorey.

Students with an interest in one of the four communities can interact and engage with other students who have similar interests and goals.

“The learning communities offer a rich, out of classroom experience,” said Fine.

“The GEC [specifically] is a really exciting one because of the interdisciplinary nature of it; the fact that we have students from all different majors coming together with the common goal of improving their role in the world as global citizens.”

The theme of the community will be “Education, Action, Reflection”, which will allow students the chance to physically make a difference in the community.

Fine added that another function of the house is to provide programming for the campus, which potentially includes working with another body on campus to run one major event each semester.

These events could be anything from speakers to awareness campaigns.

This year, the GEC will house mainly Canadian students; however, Shorey noted that the future goal is to have more international students living alongside Canadian students.

The house was donated by Laurier professor Ron Harris in memory of his wife, Joan, who passed away in 2007.

“We had just started renovating the house when my wife passed away, so I decided to donate it,” said Harris, following the official donation of the house on July 8.

For over 35 years, Harris and his wife provided affordable housing for international students attending Laurier. “It just made sense to donate it,” he said.

“In creating this global community, we want to show there is no discrimination between race, religion or education.”