What’s in store for the new year?

Photo by Darien Funk

The office of the president along with the office of student affairs are saying hello to students — while some say goodbye — as the winter semester officially commenced on Jan. 6, welcoming students from all over the world as they return to Waterloo and Brantford to continue their studies.

“Welcome back, Golden Hawks and happy New Year! It’s an exciting time at Laurier as we begin a new decade full of possibilities. Over the next term, we look forward to sharing some exciting developments that are in store for Laurier as we continue to implement a strategic plan designed to strengthen our thriving community and help you to gain the knowledge and skills to face the challenges of the future,” said president Deb MacLatchy and vice-president of student affairs David McMurray in an email statement.

“Whether this is the beginning of your second term, or you’re nearing the end of your time at Laurier, you’ve likely come to learn that this is a special place. Laurier has earned its status as the number one university for student satisfaction in the comprehensive category from Maclean’s Magazine four years in a row through our commitment to deliver the services and support programs that make a real difference in the lives of our students.”

There are many initiatives and programs available to students such as “Ride the Wave” workshops that assist in facing academic and social stressors and determining coping skills for all students, as well as “Wellness 101” workshops that take students through the seven dimensions of wellness, both of which are free to students at both Waterloo and Brantford campuses.

Laurier also prides itself on equity, diversity, and inclusion, with four student collectives; the Association of Black Students, Rainbow Centre, Centre for Women and Trans People, and the Muslim Student Association that provide volunteer and educational opportunities for students.

The Waterloo and Brantford campuses also have Indigenous student centres with their own programming and services to engage students and the newly launched KeepMeSafe counselling service has officially launched, offering online counselling for first-year international students and is available in over 35 languages.

Laurier has also launched the Academic Skills certificate, also known as “Ask”, after a successful pilot program last year. The program encourages Laurier students to develop positive academic habits while also adding to their Laurier Experience Record.

“We wish you all the best for a safe, successful and enriching winter term. We’re always eager to hear from you and to listen to your feedback about how we can do more to meet the needs of our students,” MacLatchy and McMurray continued in an email statement.

Jan. 7 also saw the announcement that vice president of student affairs, David McMurray, would be retiring in June of 2020 — exactly 10 years after he first took on the role — though McMurray has been with Laurier for 23 years since he first joined on as the assistant vice president of student services/dean of students in 1997.

“It has been a highlight of my career personally and professionally to have worked so closely with David; I have learned so much from him. His reputation as one of North America’s most outstanding leaders in student affairs is well deserved. Laurier’s exceptional student experience is due in no small part to David’s vision for and commitment to our university and our students,” MacLatchy said in an email statement.

“Since David joined Laurier in 1997, he has played a lead role in introducing multi-campus strategic initiatives that enhance student learning and in developing strategies to integrate Laurier’s academic/curricular agenda with the co-curricular elements of student learning, development and engagement.

“David has influenced nearly every facet of the student experience during his career, ranging from residence life and student leadership to student support and experiential learning.”

McMurray is a valued member of the Laurier community, from working directly with student government to actively participating in events or contributing to student publications and will be deeply missed as a member of the Laurier community in the office of student affairs.

Laurier is actively searching for a new dean of students currently as they will need someone to replace McMurray starting in June, however an event to honour the culture he has built and his legacy left at Laurier will be held in the spring.

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