Katie Stobbart, 23
In many ways, UFV is like you and me: still trying to find itself. It attained full university status a few years ago, and sometimes it still feels as though it’s part college. But after spending my first year of school at an institution with huge classes and a campus that took 10 minutes to speed-walk across, UFV was (and is) the right fit.
It takes about five minutes at a leisurely pace to traverse the Green (a field in the centre of the buildings) on UFV’s main campus in Abbotsford. I often see familiar faces in the halls and at the picnic benches outside. Students and professors are on a first-name basis.
Effective transit, food options on and around campus, and other infrastructure are still in the early stages of development, but are forthcoming. Our new student union building opens in the fall and, this year, shuttle buses were introduced between UFV’s two main campuses (Abbotsford and Chilliwack), as well as to Langley.
Getting involved on campus can mean doing a little legwork; you really have to seek out opportunities to feel part of a campus culture. You can get a very comprehensive education here if you’re willing to take advantage of UFV’s size and youth. As a prospective student, you have the power to shape your experience here in a unique way.
The main advantage of UFV is its small class sizes. There are fewer students for each professor than there are at larger universities, so there are plenty of opportunities to take on specialized research projects, directed studies, and other independent work.
A smaller student population also means greater access to extracurricular leadership opportunities. I’ve found it can be a relatively quick transition from showing up to a meeting to helping run the show.
If you want a city vibe or party scene, drive out to Vancouver. There are a few decent bars and pubs around if you want a chill drink with friends.
That said, there are two main ways to get the best out of the community, no matter which campus you’re studying at. One is the local arts and coffee-shop scene. Check out: the historic downtown areas of Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Mission; the Reach Gallery in Abbotsford; the Chilliwack Cultural Centre; and any number of small cafés scattered throughout the valley. You can also do self-guided art tours.
The other way is to get outside. We’re surrounded by beautiful mountains, which also means there are plenty of nearby trails, lakes, and rivers for you to explore.
UFV Campus Buzz on Facebook (Facebook.com/UFV.Campus.Buzz).