Unofficial school motto: ‘Where did the compost bins go?’
Best place for a nap: Huge armchairs in the Human and Social Development Building
Best cheap lunch: Vegetarian chili from the Health Food Bar. Samosas from Food Services.
Best hangover breakfast: The tastiest and cheapest coffee from the Munchie Bar
Favourite watering hole: The Grad House isn’t just for grad students, and has a more peaceful vibe than the other campus bar, Felicita’s
Perks of living in this town: Everything you need (except an Ikea) within a half-hour bus ride, and students get a hugely discounted bus pass
Best place to study: Basement of the library, by the windows
Weirdest tradition: Annual Undie Run (a fundraiser for the BC Cancer Foundation)
Best campus event: Campus Kickoff week, including free food, outdoor movies, Vike’s games and of course, a huge party
Best giveaway: Planners and other stuff from the University of Victoria Students’ Society
Best live music venue: Felicita’s hosts Battle of the Bands every Friday, or if you’re into a different sound, the music students have concerts in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall.
University Insider: Holly Lam, 20, Writing
I grew up in Victoria, so I often visited UVic when I was younger—for a music rehearsal, a field trip, or to see a movie at Cinecenta in the Student Union Building. But being a student at UVic is much more exciting.
In the fall and spring, campus has a vibrant community atmosphere. Beside the quad fountain is the ideal place to eat lunch with a friend, get some reading done, or watch people try out a slackline between the trees. It can get rainier and gloomier in the winter months, but at least your fingers won’t freeze and fall off during the walk between classes. (It’s rarely below 0° C.)
UVic is surrounded by Ring Road, so the campus is literally contained within a circle. Science and engineering students spend time in the nice buildings with lots of glass and cool modern architecture; arts students get to know the more “homey” buildings. But it’s all good either way, because in arts we get to complain about the disintegrating furniture and weird smells.
Especially in first year, classes can be large and intimidating, but UVic definitely has a small-town feel compared to schools like UBC.
The library closes at 11 p.m. and buses stop running soon after, but with only 18,000 potential undergrad friends to distract you from your studies, profs and advisers have time to meet one on one, programs become close-knit by second or third year, and scholarships are more easily attainable.
Join clubs ranging from Accounting to Zen Buddhism, and learn from the amazing advocacy groups like Pride and the Students of Colour Collective. Finnerty Gardens, home to 200 species of rhododendrons, is a beautiful break from fluorescent lights. (Yes, there are 200 species of rhododendrons.) A smiley face looks down from the Elliott Building observatory, originally drawn as a prank but since maintained by the university. Oh, and there’s a new five-storey parkade: bad for the environment, but useful if you’re late for class and trying to find a parking space.
Victoria sits on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish people. If you start walking, eventually you’ll hit water: Cadboro Bay near UVic, Dallas Road, the Inner Harbour, Fisherman’s Wharf and the Gorge. There’s a welcoming theatre and arts community, no shortage of hipster coffee shops, and I’m told there are sports, too. The saying goes that Victoria is “home to the newly wed and the nearly dead,” but with Camosun College a few blocks from UVic, there are a ton of students (who are married to school and dying from homework, so maybe the saying holds some truth).
Follow the UVic Students’ Society and your favourite clubs on Facebook, and keep up-to-date with the independent student newspaper The Martlet (martlet.ca).