Why We Call Residence Home

Hear from Isabella, Juan, Rowan and Hannah on how living on campus changed their university experience.


Two upper-year residents share coffee and conversation in Nîpisîy House.

Home: It’s not just a place. It’s where you feel comforted and surrounded by people who love you. Growing up, I struggled to define the place I called home for a multitude of reasons. Now, when people ask where home is for me, I’m proud to say it’s in residence at the University of Alberta. 

I have lived in residence since my first year. Bouncing around from Peter Lougheed Hall, Nîpisîy House, Maple House and now Stonecrop House, I’m fortunate to have gotten the full experience throughout my degree. Although my family lives about 30 minutes away from campus, I really value how convenient it is to live here. I also met my closest university friends thanks to residence. Even with the ongoing pandemic, it has stayed a lively place with regular events, tons of resources and friendly faces. And don’t just take my word for it: I asked three residents, both current and former, why they chose to live here.

Academic success

Juan, an international graduate student studying an MSc in Physiology, describes residence as a place to “further develop [his] professional skills” saying, “as a graduate student, I think that residence possesses some great resources that can help me thrive and connect to other people, like the Academic and Faculty in Residence.” Residence is also a place where students can network easily and make lifelong connections. Juan said living in Graduate Residence provided him with the chance to meet people from all over the world and to broaden his perspective.

Residence also has a peer tutor program where students who have already mastered common first and second-year courses can help you study and complete assignments. Living on campus allows students to focus on their studies instead of being sidetracked by common stressors such as commuting.

Abundant community and social support

Third-year elementary education student and Diversity and Inclusion Intern Rowan shared, “I remember how hard it was to pick a university because I knew I was also inadvertently picking how much I could be myself for the next few years. I have been working on an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Index of all of the measures residence currently takes to make it a safe and celebratory place for ALL students.”

Residence Services is listening to students and saying that they deserve a place to call home. “When our most vulnerable students feel safe, only then can we say we have a diverse, equitable and inclusive campus,” Rowan continued. They also sit on the Students’ Council and General Faculties Council representing the Faculty of Education, volunteer at The Landing and previously led the 2SLGBTQ+ non-academic cohort in residence.

Cohorts in residence are groups specifically formed so students with common interests or programs can mingle, share experiences and get involved in events together. Some cohorts even live together in a unique and convenient community.

Opportunities for career development

There are also tons of opportunities to get involved in Residence Life through both paid and volunteer positions

“As a member of the student staff, it is truly rewarding to be able to reciprocate these opportunities and create fun programs for current residents,” commented Hannah, a Resident Assistant in HUB Mall, a popular upper year residence building. Resident Assistants support specific communities on campus by hosting wide-scale events for residents, responding to concerns and incidents and helping students navigate supports and services available to them. 

One of Hannah’s favourite programs to host for her community was Letters to Loved Ones. Students, specifically international students who weren’t able to return home for the holidays, were given the opportunity to write and send a letter to their families. “Many students were excited to write letters to their families because it offered a unique personal touch that can be lost when texting or calling loved ones during the holiday season.” 

Living in the heart of campus makes it easy for residents to get involved with student life too. Hannah also holds the position of VP Marketing for 5 Days for the Homeless, a business student club. 

Apply to live in residence for Fall 2022

Whether you’re just starting your journey at the University of Alberta or you’re a campus expert, there’s a place in residence for you to call home. Look no further to find convenient housing close to campus with tons of opportunities to get involved and meet new friends. You’ll be guaranteed housing and your requested roommates if you submit your application by March 15, 2022.

About Isabella

Isabella is in her third year of nursing in the honors program, conducting research in youth mental health. She is currently a Senior Resident Assistant (SRA) for HUB Mall, Pinecrest and Tamarack House, and Graduate Residence. Additionally, she is the Head Storyteller and a Wellness Ambassador for Residence Services. In her free time, you can find her dancing, trying out new restaurants in the city, and testing out her cooking skills.