Cierra Bettens, 21
Why did you choose Winnipeg?
I chose the University of Winnipeg for its small class sizes and urban location. When I was in high school, the school had the reputation of being where the socially conscious and community-oriented students enrolled. I still believe that’s true. I started in the joint communications B.A. program—which combines courses from U of W and Red River Polytechnic—and then sometime between my first and second years, I fell in love with political science and changed my major. I’m a semester away from graduating, and it’s safe to say I don’t regret my choice at all.
Describe some of your best experiences so far.
Last summer, I had the opportunity to work alongside one of my professors as a research assistant at the institute he co-founded. Since the university primarily focuses on undergraduate studies, a lot of opportunities typically reserved for graduate students are offered to upper-year undergrads.
Are you involved in extracurricular activities?
I knew I wanted to invest in one or two extracurriculars rather than bite off more than I could chew. I ended up volunteering and then working at the Uniter, the school’s campus and community newspaper. The best way to find out what’s happening on campus is to talk to folks during Roll Call in the first week of classes or visit the student association’s web page.
What do you think of your professors?
From the time you walk into the U of W, you’re never just a number. Back when classes were in person, professors would routinely stop to have conversations in the hallway with students. The small class sizes at the U of W naturally foster a culture of collaboration rather than hierarchy. Whether you’re in an introductory psychology class or a fourth-year global politics seminar, professors take a genuine interest in your work and research interests. For students interested in applying to graduate school, the relationships you develop with faculty at the U of W are priceless.
What do you think of the school’s administration?
As long as you register early, you should be able to get into the classes you need just fine.
What is off-campus life like in Winnipeg?
The nice thing about the U of W’s central location is that the entire downtown Winnipeg area is your campus too. While the university itself consists of only a handful of buildings, the surrounding area is populated with many cafés, libraries and bars where you can study, socialize and unwind.
If I wrote the school motto: ‘Small but mighty’
Best place to live: West Broadway
Best place to study: Wise students never reveal their study spots. Your best bet is anywhere in the library near a sunny window.
Best campus events: Roll Call concerts on the quad
Weirdest tradition: The Duckworth Great Rock Climb on the first day of classes (current record: 9.4 seconds, set in 1979)
Best campus food: Pangea’s Kitchen
Best cheap lunch: Banh Mi King—nothing beats a Vietnamese sub larger than your face for $6.99
Best pizza: Shorty’s Pizza
Best place for a fancy dinner: Cordova Tapas & Wine
Best giveaway: Free film screening passes, local lunches and merch during the first week of classes
Best bar for hanging out: The King’s Head
Best live music venue: The Good Will Social Club
Best hangover breakfast: The Nook Diner
Best place for a nap: Bulman Centre (bring a blanket!)
Best weekend activity: Catching a film at the Cinematheque or dancing to live music at the Handsome Daughter
The thing that surprised me most about the school: How accessible research opportunities are for undergrads
If I could change one thing about the school: An on-campus pub, and tenure for all my favourite profs
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