Quest University Canada is set to open its doors in a week. But the first students to attend Canada’s newest university are in for a surprise when they arrive in Squamish on Monday, Aug. 27.
Instead of moving into residences to begin orientation, they will board a bus and head east on an impromptu field trip to Red Mountain Lodge near Rossland.
University faculty members will accompany the students on the three-week trip to teach them the Cornerstone Course. The course is an interdisciplinary exploration of human relationships with the environment and is mandatory for all first year students.
“It will really be an immersive experience. They’ll all be together with the faculty. It will be a really great bonding moment, but they are also going to be out there doing the course work in the field, and in the classrooms at the lodge there too,” said Angela Heck, director of public relations at Quest.
The trip was planned after a slight kink was thrown into the university’s plans to begin this September.
“As you know, the construction industry is booming, so our campus student residences were due to be opened at the end of August, but they actually won’t be ready for a few weeks after that,” said Heck.
“So the first day of classes is really the first three and a half weeks of class,” she said.
According to Heck, the residences should be complete by the time students return to Squamish at the end of September.
“I mean, they are basically done now. We just want to make sure everything is safe and up to snuff and finished. You know, make sure the glue has had time to set and everything, before we are letting people in there,” said Heck.
Looking beyond the residences, the university is in gear to begin its inaugural year this September, and all other construction is complete.
“As you can appreciate, things are changing. And not just on a daily basis, but like minute by minute,” said Heck.
“It is pretty exciting. Its not everyday that you open a university,” she said.
Quest University Canada is Canada’s first private, secular, non-profit, liberal arts and science university. It was established by former University of British Columbia president Dr. Strangway in 2002.