Ontario Tech University: Student life on campus

An insider’s guide to the best place to live, campus food and more

Shaun McLeod, 33
Communications and digital media studies

Shaun McLeod (Courtesy of Shaun McLeod)

Why did you choose Ontario Tech?
I chose Ontario Tech University because I was familiar with the school after attending Durham College, its next-door neighbour. I saw how the school gave students the chance to impact campus life and opportunities to work with the city of Oshawa to make it a better place. The smaller class sizes also stood out as a positive; I value having good relationships with my professors.

Describe some of your best experiences so far.
Attending Ontario Tech during the pandemic has been a challenge academically, but being able to explore the relationship between Indigenous people and their representation in media in multiple classes was a standout aspect for me as a Métis individual. My professors have supported my work and helped me find my way. I’ve also had the pleasure of contributing to the social media campaign for the Ontario University Athletics Lacrosse Championship weekend, which Ontario Tech hosted.

Are you involved in extracurricular activities?
When there isn’t a lockdown in effect, you can find me at any Ontario Tech athletic event as the main voice of the Ridgebacks’ broadcast crew. I started working with the school while attending Durham College, and they’ve always given me every opportunity to contribute on-air. There are several things for students to do on campus, though finding groups can be a bit confusing unless they are doing outreach, as the Indigenous group does.

What do you think of your professors?
I have found the professors at Ontario Tech to be very approachable, even during a completely online semester. Most have scheduled times for drop-in hours and make time to hear out students’ issues when they stop by. They also respond quickly through email, unless it’s a weekend.

What do you think of the school’s administration?
Dealing with administrative issues at Ontario Tech is straightforward. While some classes fill up quickly, you will have a chance to take what you want—as long as you sign up when you are assigned and don’t put it off. But for the most part, the school will make sure you’re taking the courses you need to take, even if you’re late to sign up. Academic advisers have drop-in hours daily, which helps, but student services can be tough to reach online; however, this isn’t an issue in person.

What is off-campus life like in Oshawa?
One of the only downsides of Ontario Tech is the location of the main campus in North Oshawa. While there are developments around the campus, there isn’t a lot near the school to keep you around once you’ve done your classes.

PROFILE: Ontario Tech University | Oshawa, Ont. | Founded 2003

If I wrote the school motto: ‘Better than you think’
Best place to live: University Studios
Best place to study: Campus library
Best campus events: Campus Cup
Weirdest tradition: Ontario Tech is a pretty new school, so not many ‘weird’ traditions have formed—yet
Best campus food: Osmow’s Shawarma
Best cheap lunch: Personal pizza from the cafeteria; just $6 and made to order!
Best pizza: La Pizza & Pasta
Best place for a fancy dinner: Avanti Trattoria
Best giveaway: The school frequently gives out iPads at campus events
Best bar for hanging out: St. Louis Bar and Grill
Best live music venue: There’s no great music near campus, but Simcoe Blues and Jazz is only 10 minutes away by car
Best hangover breakfast: Sherry’s Diner
Best place for a nap: Centre for Continuing Education sleep pods
Best weekend activity: Ontario Tech Ridgebacks athletics
The thing that surprised me most about the school: How modern the interior designs are
If I could change one thing about the school: More options in the food court

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