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#CollegesofTrentU: Opening Doors at Otonabee College

July 11, 2019

Otonabee College is a “mosaic” where many individuals come together as a vibrant community

Otonabee College

The collegiate system shapes a huge part of the Trent experience. Within Trent’s five colleges students build community, find meaningful connections with faculty and peers, and create a “home away from home”. As part of the #CollegesofTrentU Series, we chatted with students and alum about their experiences within the colleges and what makes their college community unique. Read on to learn what the OC experience is all about.

Not unlike the vast majority of first-year Trent University students, Ottawa native Madeline Gilchrist arrived at the Peterborough campus in search of a sense of belonging.

Cue the university’s collegiate system and, in particular, the transformative experience at Otonabee College.

“My Otonabee College experience taught me how important and rewarding it is to get involved and contribute to the community, and how much it enriches the student experience,” raves Ms. Gilchrist, who graduated in the spring with a B.Sc. in Psychology with a minor in Biology.

“Otonabee College is often referred to as a mosaic in which many unique individuals come together to create a vibrant community where each unique element is an important contribution to the finished product. Otonabee’s greatest strength is its ability to bring people together and make people feel at home despite its uniquely large size.”

Ms. Gilchrist took her Otonabee College experience to the next level, working as college life facilitator during her second and third years, in college community support during her fourth year and, for two summers, served as summer college ambassador.

“One of my most memorable experiences remains the graduation dinner held for all graduating students in Otonabee College. It was such a fun way to celebrate our graduation with college students, staff and faculty, and reflect on our time together. The college made it especially special by putting together a video made up of messages from our favourite professors wishing us good luck, a slide show with photos of our class and personalized Otonabee College-themed gift bags.”

Connecting students to a smaller community within the broader Trent community is the collegiate system’s biggest attribute, says Ms. Gilchrist.

Besides the social connection-related benefits of her Otonabee College experience, Ms. Gilchrist notes it also provided her with benefits that she says will serve her well long after she leaves Trent.

“Working in the college office provided me with many opportunities to strengthen my teamwork, leadership and collaboration skills which I know will be beneficial in all my future academic and professional endeavours.”

Fast Facts about Otonabee College:

  • Overlooks the river for which it was named
  •  In Ojibwe, “Odenabe”, or “Otonabee” means “river that beats like a heart”
  • The largest college on campus and home to the School of Education, Trent/Fleming School of Nursing, Wenjack Theatre, Tim Hortons and Subway
  • Home to two living learning communities:
    • Forensics: for students eager to participate in forensic-related experiences with faculty and peers
    • Nursing: For nursing students looking to build community and participate in outreach initiatives
  • Has single, double and triple residence room options
  • Otonabee College has a distinctive red roof that provides a sense of warmth when seen in the wintry weather