After touring the University of Western Ontario (London, ON) last week, I came away with an enhanced understanding of the university as a whole, and the college system in particular. In addition to “the main campus”, there are three university colleges at Western: Brescia, Huron, & King’s. Students who are affiliated with a college take at least 60% of their coursework at the college, with the remaining courses taken from either another college or the main campus. Students can live in the residence of the college or off campus, the choice is theirs. The university colleges really afford the best of both worlds: a small community experience and access to the fantastic resources of a large (30,000) institution, just across the road.
Brescia University College only has a residence and affiliation for women, but offers co-ed classes. It is the smallest of the colleges, with only 1000 students and a selection of different programs. There is a strong focus on leadership and service learning across the disciplines and this allows for creative and interesting degree programs. Most of the women who chose Brescia likely do so because of the tight community and the opportunities that kind of experience offers: small classes, close connections with faculty and students, mentoring programs, and great support. The buildings have been recently updated and there are many comfortable spots for studying and relaxing. It is about a 10 minute walk to the centre of the main campus. Check out these YouTube videos about studying and about boys at Brescia!
Huron University College is a co-ed college with approximately 1200 students. The campus was noticeably larger than Brescia, but still had a small, liberal arts feel, offering courses both in the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences and the Faculty of Theology. The college has some unique programs offered jointly with Western (across the road), such as Media, Information and Technoculture. Huron is located just down the hill from Brescia, a 5 minute walk across the street from the main campus.
King’s University College (not to be confused with the University of King’s College in Halifax) is located on the opposite side of campus from Huron and Brescia, but still 10 minutes walk from the main campus. It has approximately 3500 students and a larger footprint than Brescia or Huron, with more selection in the type of residence available to students. King’s offers a wider number of programs than the other colleges, including some interesting alternatives to Ivey Business with the Management and Organizational Studies program. Student life is very active with a large and diverse number of clubs, organizations, and intramurals for students to get involved in. Like Brescia and Huron, and Western students in general, King’s students feel a strong allegiance to their college and university.
After a full day on campus with college and main campus staff and students, I can now understand why so many SMUS grads want to go to Western!