Smart Start celebrates 26,000th participant

Josh Brens (middle) was the 26,000th participant in Smart Start. He's shown with Smart Start leaders (from left) Steph Teichgraf, Dylan Magee, Paul Taylor and Aiden Smyth

Josh Brens (middle) was the 26,000th participant in Smart Start. He's shown with Smart Start leaders (from left) Steph Teichgraf, Dylan Magee, Paul Taylor and Aiden Smyth

And then there were 26,000.

That’s how many students have attended Smart Start, the orientation program Brock has hosted for the past decade to help incoming students get familiar with the University.

The program reached the milestone Wednesday when St. Catharines native Josh Brens arrived for a campus tour to help him on his way as he embarks on his degree in history in September.

Brens was presented with some Brock swag to mark an occasion that Deputy Registrar Kevin J. Kiss said speaks to the success of Smart Start in helping new students know what to expect for the next four years.

“It is exciting to see this milestone reached and it is quite humbling that we have helped so many students and guests successfully transition to university life,” Kiss said.

“The program has lasted so long because of the passion, creativity and dedication of past, present and future team members of knowing how important this program is to the university. And what we recognize is that we are successful as a program because of the support of staff, faculty and the university community.”

Each day, as many as 80 new students and their parents experience presentations on transitioning to university, the services offered on campus, including the students’ union, faculty presentations, and how to succeed at university.

Participants are also schooled in student support services, finances, bursaries, awards, OSAP, dining options and meal plans, and on and off campus living.

Each year, the program is altered to keep it relevant and the 21 Smart Start team members invest more than 9,000 hours in running it each summer.

That kind of comprehensive programming offered to incoming students makes Brock unique, Kiss noted.

“We are the only institution in Canada that brings 60 to 80 students with their guests each day to get a feel of their university and our community which is now their community. And we make it fun,” he said.

“I am very proud and privileged to be part of such a flagship program and having the opportunity to work with 21 outstanding ambassadors who are so committed to this program is a truly rewarding experience.”

Smart Start runs until the beginning of August. For more information or to register, visit Smart Start online.

Posted on June 27, 2013

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