New gym facilities could boost Open House numbers

Laurier Brantford opened its doors to showcase the school to prospective students on Friday, Nov. 8. Students came to tour the campus’ facilities and decide whether Laurier is the right fit for them.

“It was amazing. There were so many people,” said Amy DeSilva, a Wilkes House don.

Based on pre-registration numbers, it was one of the best turnouts yet. The past two years have been the most successful, with last year’s numbers even higher.

Craig Chipps, manager of recruitment services here at Laurier, was pleased with the numbers. There were approximately 700 registered guests, which Chipps figures to be about 300 students. The fall open house is the second biggest event during Chipps’ tenure, second only to the March Break Open House, which generally brings in 1000 guests.

Students who visited last week have either submitted an application, or are considering applying. When March rolls around, however, students have usually received an offer and are deciding if the school is the right fit.

Helping hands were not lacking, as Student Ambassadors, residence dons and student volunteers were there to provide assistance to visitors. Volunteers tend to be outgoing, energetic people – and that’s exactly what the atmosphere was on Friday.

The recruitment team relies heavily on volunteers to help get prospective students interested in Laurier Brantford. When asked about recruitment strategies, Chipps pointed directly to student volunteers and the Student Ambassadors.

“We couldn’t run the event without our student volunteers,” said Chipps.

Indeed, the students provided the passion and enthusiasm that information sessions simply could not match.

With all the positivity surrounding the campus, there was still room for a little more help from volunteers. Navigating the downtown area can be tricky, at best, for newcomers. At most universities, visitors have the option to drive around the campus, unlike Laurier Branford’s campus, which is integrated in the downtown scene. Parking and navigating remain two lingering issues with the open house. However, Chipps believes that the new Laurier/YMCA gym will solve some of those issues.

“It will be a game changer,” says Chipps. “There are students who are interested in [various programs] that are also very passionate about athletics and when they see our facilities, they might make the decision that this campus isn’t right for them.”

While the facilities need work, the intramural and extramural sports hardly do, according to Chipps. “[Facilities] are adequate. Our intramural and extramural sports are awesome. They’re at the same level as any campus in Ontario.”

In addition to boosting athletics facilities, the new gym may prove to be a better meeting place for the open house. The Wilkes house gym is small and less inviting than a big open facility, with multiple gyms, and even a swimming pool. The proposed site for the gym is also conveniently located next to one of the biggest residences and parking lots, at Grand River Hall.

Numbers have been steady for two years now, but could see improvement with better recreational facilities. The best indicator of success would be in the numbers. While numbers have been consistent, Laurier probably won’t see dramatic improvement until the new building is complete.

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