Finding your place at university can be challenging. Some students come from small towns while others come from across the globe. Large, campus-wide events like Orientation Week and YorkFest are designed to bring our diverse student community together at the beginning of the school year, when many students make connections and friends. But, a number of students don’t participate or make a connection, which can lead to loneliness and a sense of not having a successful transition to university life.
York University RED Zone coordinator, Lyna Truong says once the back-to-school excitement has died down and the big, blockbuster events have passed, the reality of academic life begins to sink in for students.
“Often, a student’s workload can be isolating,” she said. “If a student hasn’t found their place at York yet, that can be detrimental to their overall success.”
It was from this observation that the idea for the Find Your Zone event sprung to life. The RED Zone student ambassadors noticed a trend in the online sentiment across the Student Community & Leadership Development social media channels, with a number of students expressing their loneliness and the difficulty they were having making friends.
With each iteration, the Find Your Zone format evolves further, but the core tenets remain – find friends, find community and find connections. The number of students attending the event is intentionally kept low allowing the opportunities for interaction to be low impact and stress free.
Find Your Zone events are generally presented twice a year, with the most recent held on Oct. 30. Considering the timing of the event, there was a Halloween theme and attendees were encouraged to wear costumes. The event featured three activities including a crafting and photobooth station, speed friending facilitated by the leadership team, and video gaming facilitated by the eSports Student Club. Students were welcome to drop in and leave as their schedule permitted, with the attendance remaining relatively consistent between 20 and 25 at any given time throughout the evening. Free pizza was an enticing additional draw.
If you or someone you know might be interested in attending the next Find Your Zone event, or have interest in finding out about other ways to connect to student life, follow the RED Zone and its fellow Student Community & Leadership Development student ambassadors on any or all of its social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, @studentlifeyu.