Category Archives: Residence Life

UBC REC Day of the Longboat

Last weekend was UBC REC’s Day of the Longboat, which celebrated its 25th birthday. Students have an opportunity to form teams of ten and race in canoes around Jericho beach for a weekend in (optional) funny costumes or team spirited clothing. This year my floor in Totem competed in the race. We may have rowed away with a team mate hanging off the edge of the boat for a while, and we may have had another team mate swim to the beach to get a baton for us, but we made it to the finish line without capsizing. Big win. Click here to find out more about Longboat and UBC REC.

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UBC REC Day of the Longboat Wrap Up Video 2011

Nootka 2nd at Day of the Longboat 2011

PS. If you haven’t noticed, I’m the RA on the same floor I lived on in first year. Whuddup!

A Music Monday full of LOVE.

y=You guys, I have so many exciting things I want to share with you! I’ve flown to Toronto and back for We Day, been all over the place with Colour Wars and Mob kick-off events, and now here I am one full month into school. Kind of feels like Eat, Pray, Love, because of the crazy adventures I’ve had with love, passions, and travel–which brings me to this song choice. I chose Florence + the Machine’s Dog Days Are Over for today’s Music Monday because it reminds me of an extra special person in my life we shall call vcamp.

Not long ago, I started up something pretty big. A future post will hold the big announcement but, for now, what you should know is that vcamp plays an important role in this “something pretty big.” Not many people have the wonder and amazing talents that vcamp holds. Vcamp and I only met at Residence Advisor Orientation at the end of August. Already, I know, that she’s going to go far in life and I’m proud to call her one of my newest friends and project partner. One of her biggest passions (yes passion) is Florence + the Machine. While I was at We Day, I heard this song and thought of her. Immediately from looking over the ACC from the 600-level VIP lounge I sent her a text.

That text said,
“We Day equals they are totally playing Florence + the Machine and I’m thinking of you from all the way in Toronto.”

She replied,
“That is amazing! I love her and I love you :)”

This one is for you, vcamp. The best non-traditional warm fuzzy you’ll ever read. I hope you one day read this.

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Music Monday

FLO RIDA (yes, I chose Flo Rida) and his glamourous song, Club Can’t Handle Me.

First off, if you are ever considering living in residence or you do live in residence, please take note of how stellar the Residence Advisors around you are or how amazing it would be to live with a group of residence advisors. This is the Totem advising team flash mobbing a talent show at UBC-O to Club Can’t Handle Me and I get PUMPED every time I watch it. So much good energy in that room. Love Totem.

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Here’s the actual song. I have to say, our dancing is better than the actual music video.

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BTW, after watching that dancing video, you best believe that advisors are the coolest people on the planet.

Totem Park = Time Spent With Friends

Sometimes, I wonder how anyone living in Totem Park ever has time to get work done. From the late night requests that come to my phone saying, “Magda’s?” and me saying, “obviously.” and living within several feet of your best friends makes it difficult to want to do anything but study.

Cue momma bakes. This is where she would tell me that time management is key. I’m still trying to learn this amazing skill that momma bakes speaks of. In fact, my entire year is going to be all about focus. If you were to judge to see how well I’m doing so far, well let’s not look at the past week. I’ve been spending a lot of my time with my friends. But that’s fine, school just began and it’s good to be able to see all my friends again. From now on, it’s all about school and maybe only a few less trips to Magda’s.

Shout out to momma bakes who just celebrated her birthday. She’s a wonderful woman who knows nothing about technology but everything about time management and wise spending. Happy birthday, mom.

After one week of classes, these are my favorite things.

Some of my favorite things about UBC are that politically involved people are called “hacks” and often they say “totes.” I also love that the AMS Welcome Back BBQ and Block Party are exactly the same thing, no differences at all except one is in September and the other is in April. I also love that everyone goes and loves it.

I love that everyone is comfortable in their own skin. Everyone has their own style and rocks it. I love that I see more girls with longboards this year. I love that the Honour Roll (the AMS sushi place in the basement of the SUB) takes meal cards for the first time this year. I love that the Honour Roll exists, period. I love how my diet has been 90% udon and Booster Juice since I got here.

I love that Magda’s sold me a box of Dad’s cookies for $2. I love that The Ubyssey is sarcastic and fun. I love that I never want or feel the need to leave campus because it’s all right here. I love that I find more handsome men than I do in downtown Toronto (major win). I love that the Centre for Student Involvement exists. I love that we have Imagine Day, even if the goal of the day is to get the first pitcher at The Gallery. I love Totem Park. I love Anna from the Totem Dining Hall who makes the best wraps. I love UBC.

I’m alive!

I’ve just escaped the depths of conferences and orientations and getting ready for opening weekend at Totem Park! My biggest apologies goes out to you, my little blog reading fan base, that I have disappeared for the last month. I have been without internet as I learn everything from personal branding to attending MOB BootCamp at the new Me to We Leadership Centre. I’ve thought about you guys everyday and how badly I wanted to post something and I’m happy that I am now back with an internet connection and a fancy new dorm room in T-Park.

Here we go with the 2010-2011 academic year approaching. I’ll still be blogging all the time, bringing you music every Monday, and telling you what’s going on at UBC. Here are a few cool things that are currently happening personally that I’d like to share.

First of all, click here to read a great article in the Toronto Star today about how cool caring can he. You also might see a name you recognize in there. Just sayin’.

Secondly, if you are a first year student, look out for a familiar face during your Meet The Dean session during Imagine Day who will be talking about her experiences as an involved student leader. Hint: she has a blog you are currently reading.

Now that I’ve FINALLY been able to post something, I must get back to prepping for Totem Park to be ready for all you fabulous first years to move in to this Saturday! If you haven’t been following my Twitter and you are wondering what I’ve been doing for the last month, click here to read through my tweets and to check out all those fabulous TwitPics I upload. Love you long time.

Let’s get this Totem and Vanier thing straight.

Hey incoming first years,

If you are living in Totem Park or Place Vanier next year, this post is for you. In addition to being a Blog Squad member to help you get aquatinted with student life at UBC, I’m regularly on the UBC Prospective Undergraduate Students facebook page to answer your questions.

Lately, most of the posts are about students in residence trying to switch rooms from Totem to Vanier. Here’s the deal. Totem and Vanier are both old, smelly, and are filled with the same students in each residence. There aren’t many differences. There isn’t a big enough difference between Totem Park and Place Vanier that should make anyone have to switch rooms. I’m here to put romours or unanswered questions to rest.

Last year, I lived in Nootka House in Totem and I’m returning to be a Residence Advisor in Haida. I have both friends in Totem Park and Place Vanier. I’ve spent time in both cafeterias, both residences, and many different buildings between the two places. Here is my educated list of the differences between Totem Park and Place Vanier, the truth to rumors about who parties and who doesn’t, along with resources for you to read and/or watch, and the reason why I selected Totem Park as my number one choice when I was moving into residence in my first year.

1) The little differences between Totem Park and Place Vanier. (reminder, both residences are super old, generally have the same sized room (some small exceptions), given the same furniture, have the same bad paint jobs, and the same first year experience)

Between Totem and Vanier there are little differences but in the end I’d say both residences offer the same experience. Unlike other universities, and from my standpoint of both a resident in my first year and as a Residence Advisor, I’d say UBC does an excellent job of creating both residences to be equals. Here are the little differences you’ll find in Totem and Vanier.

Totem Park:
– 6 houses, 1,163 residents, with 2 houses currently being built as the newest and best on campus. That’s approximately 194 people per house. All houses have elevators (and a frequently used space for pranks)
– All houses have co-ed building and same sex floors except for Shuswap which has co-ed floors.
– Houses are in pairs with “links” to partner houses that include study rooms
– Totem houses are 6 floors each with ‘H’ shaped floors that include two hallways and all the things you’ll need like mud rooms and floor lounges
– Totem’s commons block is the most recently updated, including the cafeteria
– Totem’s late night store, Magda’s, has a grill that is open late for meal purchases after the cafeteria closes at 7:30pm on school nights and 7pm on weekends. The grill is open until 11pm and Magda’s until 11:30pm daily.
– Totem has a flag football league (TFL & WTFL)
– Close to the UBC Botanical Garden, Starbucks, the sports fields, UBC Thunderbird Arena, Old NW Marine Drive for running, Engineering, Science, LFS, and Forestry buildings, and is situated next to the water.

Place Vanier:
– 12 houses and 1,370 residents. That’s approximately 114 people per house.
– All houses are same-sex floors with co-ed houses, except for Kootenay and Ross as exclusively gals only and Mackenzie and Robson as guys only. Also, KU & Tec are the only houses to have co-ed floors (and the only buildings to have elevators! Thanks Mel)
– All the houses are smaller, with single hallways, less floors but in some cases dorm rooms in the basement level.
– Recently updated commons block and cafeteria but their late night store, Hubbards, does not offer a grill/meal option.
– Offers an ultimate frizbee leauge
– Has Tec and Korea house which are newer buildings from a few years ago where you pay an extra fee and it offers such things as per-room thermostats and sometimes an entire wall that is a window aka the fish bowl.
– Closer to Arts buildings, the Japanese gardens, the Museum of Anthropology, and situated on the water.

2) The truth to the rumours of who parties and who doesn’t

The differences between Vanier and Totem when it comes to who studies hard and who parties I would say is all gossip. Apparently, Vanier was more party than Totem last year and they had fire alarms pulled nightly where I didn’t have the same experience in Totem. I’d say it depends what characters are placed in what residence, but like I said both Totem and Vanier are the same deal and you’ll have friends at both residences.

3) Resources to look at about Totem Park and Place Vanier

Totem Park page- UBC Student Housing

Place Vanier page- UBC Student Housing

4) Why did I choose Totem going into first year?

I prefer Totem myself because I like large floors and I like the late night food option. I enjoy being a little farther away from the hustle and bustle of classes and I love the football league. I also feel like Totem has a cool spirit and pride, along with great events. Both residences will offer events and activities and will be similar across the board. This is because the Residence Advisors maintain the same community feel in both residences, both the PVRA and TPRA offer events and things to do, and both residences are managed by the same fine UBC staffers.

One last thing to encourage you to avoid the pain of trying to switch residences, click here to see Totem Park listed as number 7 for the top 10 Canadian University residences on

With love,

Erica, your UBC Housing fairy godmother

The rules of second year

These are the rules for second year.

1) School (which means all assignments, readings and going above and beyond) must come first.

2) I’ve got goals for my grades, I’ll meet those goals.

3) Every professor must know my first and last name.

4) Boys (even if they are cute and may embody my dream boy) must not take a front seat in my life. This is a warning to all you boys, cute and amazing, that although I’d very much like to have your company, you distract me from my school work. Which isn’t cool.

5) Do not sleep less than eight hours a night and do not take weekends as an opportunity to snooze until the afternoon. Totem serves udon on saturdays for lunch, you know. Wouldn’t want to miss that.

6) Readings may not be a lot of fun to do and research is never easy, but I have to build my bridges before I need them. I will be strictly enforcing this rule that requires me to complete not only all my readings, all the time, but that I must read them in advice, create notes, and then review the night before the lecture as if I knew I was going to be tested on my knowledge of the assigned readings. Makes sense? Oui?

7) I will make several drafts of my term papers, bring them to my professors, ask how to improve, and actually edit my work. I’ll make my papers golden and even bring it to my prof three times if that means I can do well in the course. I’m prepared to do as much extra work as possible.

8) I will not sit on FaceBook all night, or watch whatever TV show I’m into all night. Instead, I will use my time efficiently. This means enforcing strict work hours, lots of bubble gum from Magdas, and using my time wisely.

9) My friends are important to me. The ones that meow, rawr, or act normal. I will spend the out nights I have with them, I will show up to their house to burn the food I cook, and I will remain committed to being their number one fan.

10) I will create mail art to send to my friends across the country on a regular basis. I will bring joy to their mailbox, a smile to their face, and keep my friends close to my heart during times of great distances between us.