November 21, 2014

World Hello Day: The Power of a Greeting

Take time out of your day to say hello to someone new. The Community Social Work Team discusses how this can battle loneliness and have a positive impact on the social well-being of our campus community.

November 21st is World Hello Day, a day we encourage you say hello to your friends and neighbours but also to those you do not know. We are challenging you to say hello to ten people you never met or have been too shy to talk to before, because saying a simple hi can make the biggest difference.

Of all the days to recognize on campus, World Hello Day may seem like a strange choice. However, there is much more behind World Hello Day than just the encouragement of a friendly greeting. World Hello Day was started in response to the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. The intention was to use personal greetings and inter-personal communication as a way to create dialogue and preserve peace. World Hello Day is a global expression of peace and people in 180 countries observe it. By greeting ten people today, you are expressing your support for peace and the power of dialogue as a means of resolving and preventing conflict.

November 12, 2014

Keeping it honest: Preventing plagiarism in your work

Plagiarism can be a confusing and sometimes daunting topic for students. Deb Eerkes of Student Conduct and Accountability shares five simple tips to avoid plagiarism in all of your academic writing. 

As you settle into the second half of the semester, you may be working on writing – term papers, essays, lab reports, and other assignments. While each faculty/department may require slightly different forms of citation, all of them recognize the need to acknowledge your sources. Citing your sources is the best way to avoid plagiarism. Here are five ways to avoid plagiarism in your writing:

October 29, 2014

Alcohol and student conduct

Deb Eerkes of Student Conduct and Accountability discusses the facts you need to know about alcohol and student conduct as you head into the Halloween season. 

You don’t have to stretch the imagination too far to make the link between alcohol and misconduct. As a Discipline Officer, I often see how these these reckless actions due to alcohol are in violation of the Code of Student Behaviour. I meet with students who say they can’t remember the events of the evening, or that they shouldn’t be held responsible for what they did under the influence of alcohol. And every time I think to myself that there has to be a different way to help students understand this issue and make better decisions.

As you enter into the Halloween season and attend events that include alcohol, keep these facts in mind:

October 16, 2014

Developing University-Level Study Habits

It may feel like the semester just began, but the first round of exams are already underway for most. Mebbie Bell with the Student Success Centre shares her guidelines for studying that will keep you on track and successful.

Although midterm exams may be weeks away, the first week of term is the best time to start studying. And, those first exams creep up on you very quickly! Here are some guidelines that will help you stay on top of your studying from the start:

October 15, 2014

Staying on track in a busy semester

Where did the time go? As you prepare for midterms and final exams this semester, Mebbie Bell with the Student Success Centre shares her top tips for staying on track. 

With the fall semester quickly moving along, midterms are upon us, and many students are wondering how to juggle exam preparations with their long lists of lab assignments, projects, readings, and other activities. How do you avoid swapping one cramming session for another and the feeling that you are constantly behind? Here are a few suggestions for getting on track with exam preparations and making sure your studying is strategic.

October 09, 2014

Keeping it honest: Academic Integrity

How does academic integrity factor into your university career? Student Conduct and Accountability offers advice on how to keep your academic work honest, from assignments to exams. 

As you start preparing for midterms, assignments and essays, it is important to consider the role of academic integrity. No one wants to find themselves inadvertently in violation of the Code of Student Behaviour due to academic misconduct, which includes cheating, plagiarism, all other forms of getting unfair academic advantage. In an effort to keep students out of our office, the Discipline Officers have compiled a list of the top five things you need to know in order to keep it honest:

October 07, 2014

Taking Care of Your Mental Health

The Community Social Work team discusses mental health and strategies to boost your own well-being at any time of the year.

World Mental Health Day is this Friday and it is important to ask “What is mental health?” and “Why is it important to talk about it?” Often when we hear the words “mental health”, it is common to think of of mental illnesses or disorders. While mental illness is an aspect of mental health, and something that affects one in five Canadians, mental health is much more than an illness or disorder. 

Mental health is something that everyone has. 
Key to our overall wellness, mental health is a level of psychological well-being that reflects our emotional and behavioral functioning. 

Unlike physical health, mental health is often invisible. It takes an active effort to evaluate our mental health and a conscious initiative to strengthen it. Our mental health is often difficult to gauge or measure, however, there are some common strategies for checking-in on our mental health, building our mental well-being, and making sure that we are putting ourselves in the best position to respond to life’s ups and downs.

October 02, 2014

Starting a major writing project?

Are you worried about starting your major writing project? Here’s how to hit the ground running with advice from Graduate Writing Advisor Rob Desjardins at the Student Success Centre.

You’ve heard it time and again: get started early on a major writing project (such as a master’s or PhD thesis) so that you have time to edit and improve it. That’s great advice, but it’s often hard to put it into action. Students preparing for such a project may feel unready to write; they may think there’s too much left to read and too many ideas to absorb. They may be overwhelmed by demands on their time, finding it hard to chisel out the time they need to put their thoughts on paper. And they may be so critical of their own work that they’re reluctant to get started.

If some of this sounds familiar, don’t worry: a lot of students are in the same boat. You can find success by applying some simple (and some not-so-simple) strategies. 

September 22, 2014

Careers Day is just around the corner...

School might have only just started (and this might be hard to believe), but the fall season is the most popular recruiting time for employers. That's why on Wednesday, September 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. CAPS will host Careers Day, the largest career fair on campus. If you are graduating in April, or in your first few years of university and are exploring your career options, it's a great event to attend.

Careers Day will see over 200 employers coming to the Butterdome to meet with YOU. The fair is for students studying in all disciplines, and is a great way to connect with employers from organizations and industries you are interested in, and also get a job. Here are some tips for making the most out of the day.

September 16, 2014

Just Ask: Six Tips for Finding an Answer

Asking a question might seem simple enough, but sometimes it can be difficult deciding where to start. Hallie Brodie, Manager of InfoLink, shares her insight on getting answers to any and all questions you might have. 
The reasons that each of us have made our way to the U of A are unique and personal, however there is one common driving force that brings us all here: curiosity. University is all about the pursuit and transfer of knowledge. Whether you are investigating the possible outcomes for an equation, researching developments from the past, or are trying to predict the best method to communicate, for every project, essay, or report that you work on, you will find yourself looking to answer a question.

Seeking an answer to an academic question usually seems like a natural thing to do. But for some reason, asking a question outside the classroom can sometimes feel embarrassing. Nobody likes to look dumb. And I’m here to tell you that you should never feel foolish for asking about something that you don’t already know. Promise. As the Manager of InfoLink, the U of A’s campus information service, I can assure you that whatever your question is, someone else has probably already asked it. And if they haven’t, then the question that you have will likely capture the imagination of those that will help you find the answer.

September 08, 2014

Time Management for Academic Success

The beginning of the semester is filled with new classes, studying, events, friends, and more. Mebbie Bell with the Student Success Centre explains how managing your time now will help you succeed later in the semester. 

As the new academic year begins, set yourself up for success (and significantly less stress!) by creating a schedule with which you can stick for the entire term:

September 02, 2014

We're here for you: a message from the Dean of Students

Welcome to a new academic year!
Dr. Robin Everall
Interim Vice-Provost and
Dean of Students

Whether you are new to the University of Alberta or are returning to school, it’s exciting to see our campuses come alive with the energy of students. You play a key role in our vibrant University community, and it is my hope that you’ll find your experience here to be valuable and fulfilling.

In student services, our mission is to help you achieve your full potential as a U of A student — within the university community and wherever life takes you. While we hope your experiences here will be positive and engaging, we know that you may encounter obstacles. The Dean of Students portfolio is here to help you turn those difficulties into successes. Whether you need to improve your grades or just need someone to talk to, our services and resources are ready for you.

August 26, 2014

Make Lasting Friendships on Campus

Worried about making friends on campus? The U of A Community Social Work team shares advice for creating lasting friendships. 

Whether your are entering your first year or returning for your last, the beginning of the semester is always an exciting and busy time. There are dozens of different things on your mind, and making new friends is probably one of them. We've seen the movies with images of university as the setting to make life-long friends.

And guess what? You can make those friends!

But (yup, there’s a but), you have to put energy and effort into this. Making friends in university may not be as easy as it was in high school -- where you saw many of the same people for six hours every day. Building friendships in university means being a bit more vulnerable and putting yourself out there.

Why is it important to talk about making friends and being connected with others?
We know from the National College Health Assessment, completed by students in 2013 at the University of Alberta, that 62.5% of respondents felt very lonely in the past 12 months. That’s a lot of people on our university campus feeling lonely.

August 21, 2014

Welcome Home! Making Your Move to Residence Unforgettable

Moving into your new home in residence this semester? Brock Richardson, Acting Assistant Dean of Students, Residence Life, shares his insights on what to expect and tips to make living in residence a positive experience.

Move-in day is almost here, and the U of A will be filled with the enthusiasm and anticipation of new and returning students. Whether this is your first year or your last, you may be feeling overwhelmed, excited, nervous — or a combination of all three. This busy time can leave you feeling uncertain and anxious, and you may have many questions as you begin this new academic year. 

There are lots of things you can do to make the most of Move-In Week at the University of Alberta and your time living in residence.

August 15, 2014

U of A Undergrad Orientation: A Great Place to Start!

Edward Spink, USD Coordinator with Orientation 2014 shares how the Orientation experience can help you make the most of your transition into university life. 
“Where are my classes?”
“Will I meet people?”
“Why is my mom cooler than I am?”
If you’re new to the University of Alberta, chances are you have at least one of these questions on your mind. Look no further for the answers --  this is where Orientation comes in.

Orientation is a great opportunity to learn about your new school from academic, administrative and social perspectives. As you integrate into campus life and the university procedures, you will: make new friends, get to know the different groups on campus, find out where your classes are, and decide how you want to live your U of A life. We have great presentations, tours, and activities lined up for you to learn about all of these things!

April 28, 2014

Student Success Centre Study Strategies: Active Reading

Dreading the amount of reading that comes with many courses? The U of A Student Success Centre's Mebbie Bell shares advice to improve your active reading skills.

The most common complaint I hear from university students is that they get bored (really bored!) with the mountains of reading they have to complete. They spent hours reading only to feel they have not learned much of anything, read the same page over and over, or struggle to distinguish what’s important in long, detailed texts. Students spend a lot of time reading and getting frustrated, but you can approach your reading in ways that are less painful and much more productive. 

 You want to read actively: aim do something while you read instead of staring at the page. Active reading is deliberate and selective, and helps you learn material more quickly. Whether you’re tackling a class textbook or a stack of research articles, try these strategies:

April 03, 2014

The Green and Gold Student Leadership and Professional Development Grant

Amy Roy Gratton, the Experiential Learning Coordinator at CAPS: Your U of A Career Centre shares information about the Green and Gold Grant and how to make the most of your leadership experience.

Need a little green to invest in yourself and your future?

As summer approaches many students feel a sense of relief and renewal as they focus on goals for the next academic year, planning to be more dedicated and engaged in the next term. If this sounds familiar, and you are seeking opportunities to improve your leadership and citizenship skills, the U of A wants to help you by funding professional development or leadership activities during the summer - helping you to become a leader in your future profession.

The Green and Gold Student Leadership and Professional Development Grant (Green and Gold Grant) is administered by CAPS: Your U of A Career Centre and focuses on professional and leadership development of all students – regardless of it being the start of their leadership journey or at the peak. The Grant is open to all students – including international and graduate students - and all disciplines. We want to invest in you, your future, your education and your career.

March 20, 2014

Celebrate Happiness Every Day

Brianna Murphy from the U of A Community Social Work Team recommends that we celebrate happiness every day and shares her advice on how to increase being happy.

March 20 is the UN's International Day of Happiness — recognizing that happiness is a fundamental human goal, and should be seen as important as other metrics for measuring personal success. 

This seems like a simple concept, but the theories of happiness, appreciation and gratitude are gaining higher levels of scholarly recognition and are proven to truly impact your overall well-being and success in other areas such as academics.

Students face many stressors during the course of their school year, but just telling someone “be happy” might not immediately seem likely to work, but there are many different ways we can help achieve this mindset.

February 24, 2014

An Open Letter to UAlberta students from Dean Robinson & Petros Kusmu, Students' Union President

Dear Students,

I’m sure that many of you have heard about the NEKnomination phenomenon that has come to campuses across North America. An event that first started as a harmless challenge between friends has now seen numerous instances of extreme drinking resulting in several tragic incidents. It is truly concerning that people are getting hurt or killed trying to one-up their friends. When you combine excessive drinking and extreme stunts, and then dare others to do something even more dangerous, the results can be truly terrible.

We are reaching out because each of you matter to us. We want you to have fun and drink responsibly if you choose to drink. We don’t want you to become one of these devastating statistics.

Many people are coming up with very different, positive responses to this phenomena. For instance, there are some great examples of friends challenging each other to Random Acts of Kindness, which seems like a far better alternative to us. We hope you agree, too.

On behalf of the Students’ Union and the U of A, we encourage you to make smart and safe decisions. Please be careful, keep your friends safe, and if you do drink, please drink responsibly. Empower yourself through the Check Yourself tool, an anonymous online questionnaire that will provide you with information about yourself and drinking. As always, if you ever need to talk to someone, University Wellness Services, and the Peer Support Centre are good places to start. 


Petros Kusmu, Students’ Union President

Frank Robinson, Vice Provost & Dean of Students