Easing the transition for first-year students

By in News

RORY MACLEAN
News Editor

For some First Nations students coming from small communities, the first year in university can be a major change.

To ease the transition and help welcome new and returning First Nations students to the U of S, the Aboriginal Students’ Centre held a banquet on Sept. 4 featuring the comedy of Cree comedian Don Burnstick.

Burnstick quickly had the Odeon audience roaring with his unique brand of humour.
DonBurnstick “Gotta love those first-years. They walk around like a white guy at a powwow. ”˜What do I do? Where do I go?’ ”

The banquet provided an opportunity for new students to mix with their families and members of the community as part of the Aboriginal Students’ Centre’s orientation event.

Jordan Aimoe, a volunteer, feels this event helps familiarize people with the members of the centre and helps build connections between students in their senior years.

“I think it’s really important when they’re coming to a big university where there’s more people on campus than in their whole hometown,” he said.

The U of S has been making increased efforts to draw in Saskatchewan’s Aboriginal youth.

“I think it’s really important when they’re coming to a big university where there’s more people on campus than in their whole hometown.”
—Jordan Aimoe

“Aboriginal relations are among the very top priorities of the university and we are anxious to do everything we can to ensure our campus is a welcoming place,” said David Hannah, vice-president of student enrolment.

Aimoe has even been making regular trips to First Nations communities around the province to promote post-secondary education on behalf of the Aboriginal Students’ Centre.

“Aboriginal people make up a big portion of Saskatchewan,” said Aimoe.

“We’re not only trying to say, ”˜come to the U of S,’ but trying to let them know that there are opportunities for higher education past high school.”

In a moment of reflection onstage, Burnstick concurred.

“Education is the key to success,” he said. He urged students to leave behind those “jealous Indians” back on the reserve.

The event also featured dinner, a silent auction and a dance.

But for Glen and Graham Currie, twin Métis brothers in their first year of university, it was Burnstick that drew them in.

“Our grandpa has heard him,” said Glen.

They got tickets for the whole family when they heard he was performing at the banquet.


photo Raisa Pezderic