UOIT: The inside scoop on Ontario's technology school

MACLEANS-UOIT-10.09.14-OSHAWA, ON:  Kinesiology students conduct physio and endurance tests at UOIT in Oshawa, ON.  Photograph by Donald Weber

Kinesiology students conduct physio and endurance tests at UOIT in Oshawa, ON. Photograph by Donald Weber

Cristina Mazza, 21
Energy Systems Engineering

“You go to U of T?” That’s a question I often hear. Being just more than a decade old and located in a city that residents affectionately call “the dirty ’Shwa,” UOIT is a school many people have never heard of, let alone considered applying to. Yet this young university became the top choice for many Grade 12 students, including me.

A unique feature at UOIT is its technology-enriched learning environment, which includes a leased laptop, IT services, insurance and program-specific software. UOIT also offers distinctive, top-notch engineering programs, including nuclear, automotive and energy systems, along with forensic science and health physics. Also offered is the combination of a science or engineering program with an additional year of business and management courses, resulting in bachelor’s degrees in engineering and management or science and management.

UOIT has been establishing itself less as a source of distinguished alumni and more as a place from which trailblazers are taking off, attracting ambitious students and prominent professors to a university where even the architecture is innovative (think green roofs and geothermal heating and cooling). Within UOIT’s buildings are further marks of innovation, such as a snowy climatic wind tunnel used for testing prototypes in automotive manufacturing—and for the occasional snowman-building bash. At the north and downtown campuses, a sense of community still exists, despite increasingly fast growth at both.

So, in response to the question above: I go to UOIT, and I am proud of it.

Despite being regarded mainly as a technology school, UOIT offers more than meets the eye in extracurricular and student-driven groups on campus. From the Aboriginal Student Circle to the Punjabi Panthers, diversity is very strong on campus. An interest in philanthropy and human rights is also reflected in activities and fundraising for Amnesty International, the Red Cross, Post Love and UNICEF. Art-loving students can express themselves through clubs such as the Musicians Club, Anime on Campus and Dance Fusion. This year, several student-run publications have surfaced, such as the Singing  Lark and the  Gear—the latter being UOIT’s first student-run newspaper offering a combination of comedic and technology-focused pieces, written, ironically, by stereotypically illiterate engineers.

City Vibe
Oshawa is shedding its small-town status and becoming known for its cultural diversity. The historical beauty of Parkwood Estate meets the contemporary flair of the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, both a short bus ride away from either of the two campuses. Whether it’s the General Motors Centre for a hockey game or concert, or countless venues downtown for jazz or comedy, there is always a place to be. Even UOIT is a venue, with the Regent Theatre hosting various exciting performances. No hunger craving goes unsatisfied, with a wealth of cuisines, including Italian, Vietnamese, Persian and Polish, as well as an assortment of sushi restaurants and various watering holes throughout the city.

The Skinny
Check out SnapOshawa.com for news of what’s happening in Oshawa.