Founders College welcomed students, parents, guardians and families of first-year students to its inaugural Open House Sunday, Oct. 26, with the goal of strengthening the bonds between the college and the University community, as well as the larger community of students’ families. The event has garnered praise from parents who found it enlightening.
The Office of the Master, with the participation of staff, Founders College Student Council and Founders Fellows, organized a series of activities around an afternoon of convivial interaction for participants, while enjoying refreshments. Parents and families of Founders College students participated in a college tour where they visited key spaces, including fellows’ offices and student-friendly rooms. Additional information on college workshops and tailored academic events were also featured with samples of college activities made available for everyone to consult and browse through.
Guests had an opportunity to interact with members of Student Council and other senior students, such as members of United for Parity, a Founders College affiliated student organization, which showcased the important outreach work it does throughout the year. Joining parents and families were several Founders fellows who mingled with guests and addressed concerns, questions or simply shared stories of community, engagement and leadership. Parents said they enjoyed the informal nature of the event and appreciated knowing more about the College and its diverse community.
“We personally liked your openness and willingness to engage with us, learn about our daughter’s experience and genuine desire to enhance that experience. We did not expect anyone to sit down with us, answer questions as [Professor] Monique Adriaen did and we learnt a few things which we took back to our daughter,” said Niki Tullo, one of the parents who attended the Open House.
Another parent shared his appreciation of the open door policy and the opportunity for students to interact with college fellows, adding, “This is not just a university; it is a community.”
Several fellows, including previous masters of the college, spoke of the value of community and student engagement. Professors Robert Drummond, Kathryn McPherson and Lorna Weir all spoke of the enjoyment of meeting parents and the sharing of concerns, as well as the need for continued events of this nature. Professor Pablo Idahosa added, “The rewards were in the pleasure of that engagement itself: in sharing whatever information and reassurance to parents about the intrinsic value of what their children were doing at university.”
The success of the event rested on the fact that the Founders community – its staff, students and fellows – share a common belief in the value of engagement and community spirit as determining factors of student success and an enriching student experience.