Dressed in its springtime finery, Western will welcome thousands of prospective students and their parents May 7, in a colourful twist to standard open houses.
The spring open house is open to high-schoolers of all ages and will feature guided walking tours, mini-lectures and introductions to services such as financial aid, wellness and housing.
It’s the largest in-person welcome for prospective students since the pandemic began. And it’s the first time in memory that a spring open house will take place while the trees are budding and tulips are blooming on one of Canada’s prettiest campuses.
“We’re very proud of the Western campus – and our hope is that when students are able to see it for themselves, they will view it with the same affection and pride and enthusiasm,” said registrar Glen Tigert.
Some students are still weighing multiple offers of acceptance, “so this is a timely opportunity to visit campus,” he said. “And seeing campus with the green grass and flowers certainly offers a colourful view of our campus.”
Tigert said as many as 500 faculty, staff and students will be on hand to guide visitors through their day.
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They will check in at Great Hall, show electronic proof of vaccination and receive a printed guide of programming options for their day. Visitors must wear Western security wristbands to gain access to buildings and must wear medical-grade masks while indoors.
The event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., includes a variety of faculty-specific events such as tours of faculties along with mini-lectures.
For the first time, interested students will have the option of a sustainability tour, hosted by Sustainability Western and EnviroWestern, to showcase green spaces and green buildings, including Western’s arboretum and the St. Marys rock garden.
Students can also take guided tours: a 45-minute stroll through campus; a walk-through of three residences; and an inside look at the recreation centre.
They can sit in on mini-lectures in history and psychology; ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions for almost every faculty; discover the simulated patient suite in nursing; and take in a short music performance at Von Kuster Hall.
At the University Community Centre, they can learn about a range of academic, social, financial-aid, safety and recreational services available to all students.
Lunch and snack options will include selections from some indoor eateries and five outdoor food trucks.
“This is really exciting for us,” Tigert said. “For prospective students and their families, spring open house is a way to engage with the culture and character of Western. And for younger students who won’t be deciding for a couple of years where they’ll attend university, it offers a better sense of the paths they can take to guide their next steps in high school.”
Meanwhile, the event will intersect with the return of a favourite free event for an even younger crowd: Science Rendezvous, a hands-on journey through science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics for children and their families. It takes place from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Western’s Alumni Stadium.