This Saturday our campus is welcoming 750 new students. Our university is alive with returning student leaders, campus beautification projects and renovation projects finishing up. The energy in the air is strong and positive. Everywhere you look, our environment is saying “Welcome! We are so happy you are here!” Today, I had the privilege of working with 45 student leaders who are Peer Instructors (PIs) for a first-year university seminar course. These amazing leaders were exploring the skills of facilitation and practicing them with each other.
Facilitate is an interesting verb – “to make easy.” University is challenging – of this there is no doubt. The first-year of university has unique pressures and a steep learning curve. While I can vividly recall my first year of uni, I must admit it was a long time ago and I know many things have changed. The decision to employ near-peers as course facilitators is grounded in the belief that student leaders are uniquely positioned to facilitate this transition for their peers. In fact, a PI facilitated their transition last year! This is how of culture of leadership and service is created on our campus. Facilitate: to make easier. And, in the process of facilitation a culture of support is born and a learning community strengthened. It is sheer joy to be a part of something so powerful!
Welcome first-year students! Your peers are ready to make your journey a little bit easier. Thank you Student Life for investing in student leadership development and allowing me some space to facilitate your good work! 😃
(A special thank you to Tiffany Sawatzky who has led this good work in Student Life this past year. I will miss you Tiffany! I am always available to “facilitate” for you as you have done for me!❤️)