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#CollegesOfTrentU: Gzowski College is a Game Changer

July 12, 2019

Deep connection to Indigenous peoples and the environment shape the unique experience at Gzowski

Students gathered at Gzowski College, Trent University

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 two Trent students have to say about Trent’s youngest college, Gzowski.

No matter where their respective life journeys lead them, Rachel Smylie and Brandon Kwakye-Longdon will forever share special memories of their Gzowski College experience.

The two Trent students – Ms. Smylie is pursuing a degree in International Development Studies while Mr. Kwakye-Longdon is studying Computing Systems with a minor in Economics – have fully immersed themselves in the Gzowski College community and reaped considerable benefits as a result.

Ms. Smylie, the newly elected Trent Central Student Association vice president responsible for university and college affairs, raves about how her Gzowski College experience noting, “You aren’t just attached to the name. You’re also attached to the spirit and mantras of the college. Gzowski (College) has deep connections to Indigenous people and the environment. That sets us apart (from Trent’s other four colleges).”

Mr. Kwakye-Longdon fully concurs.

“What really separates Gzowski is having the First Peoples House of Learning housed within. I have learned so much about the Indigenous story. That is what really makes Gzowski different. Walking through the halls and smelling sage and other medicines brings life to what is otherwise just a big yellow building.”

Indigenous knowledge is central to the spirit at Gzowski, and woven into various programs ranging from math and markets to business innovation and economics. Workshops and guest speakers mix with events and general hoopla to support students’ academic development, career aspirations, leadership and sense of belonging.

Ms. Smylie says the University’s collegiate system allows new students to embed themselves deeper, not only in the Trent community at large but also in “a second unified community based on values.”

She recommends new students tour of each of Trent’s five colleges and make a final decision based on where they feel most comfortable.

“Gzowski, as a community, has opened my eyes to a different type of acceptance, one that is unconditional and rewarding,” says Mr. Kwakye-Longdon. Gzowski College offers a modern space on campus with lots of natural light and comfortable living spaces, not to mention great views for studying.

“Leaving home for the first time, not knowing many people in Peterborough, or Trent for that matter, was extremely difficult for me. Fortunately I came to discover that I was not alone. Meeting new people who were of the same frame of mind made my student experience a lot easier to handle.”

Both Ms. Smylie and Mr. Kwakye-Longdon see their Gzowski College experience paying off a huge dividend long after they leave Trent.

“Without Gzowski I would not be who I am,” says Ms. Smylie.

“I have been able to build lifelong friendships and professional connections that I would not have otherwise. These opportunities have shown me who I am and Gzowski truly has become a part of my identity. I fully agree with the college’s motto that the minds of the future are made great beginning today.”

Fast Facts about Gzowski College:

  • Named for one of Canada’s most beloved broadcasters, and former Chancellor of Trent University, Peter Gzowski
  • Home to the School of Business, the Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies, First Peoples House of Learning, Benedict Gathering Space and Nozhem: First Peoples Performance Space
  • Home to three living learning communities:
    • Environmental Sustainability: for students passionate about “thinking locally and acting globally”
    • Endahying Community: A perfect place for anyone interested in Indigenous culture and knowledge
    • Business: Taking an innovative approach to entrepreneurship that encapsulates a mindful perspective on social and environmental issues
  • Offers single residence rooms with adjoining semi-private bathrooms
  • Home to the only Level 3 green-certified restaurant on a university campus in Canada, with plenty of fun dining options including: Gourmet Personal Naan Pizzas, It’s a Wrap, The Local Grill and The Pasta Bar

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 about their experiences within the colleges and what makes their college community unique.