Saskatchewan Polytechnic welcomes students back to Prince Albert campus

Saskatchewan Polytechnic students pose for a photo during a welcome week dance party at the school’s Prince Albert campus. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Summer isn’t quite over yet, but the Student’s at Prince Albert Saskatchewan Polytechnic Campus are already preparing for the fall.

The campus hosted a series of welcome events starting with the Chill Zone on Monday, and culminating with the Student Connect Festival on Thursday.

For returning students like Gurpreet Kaur, it’s a chance to renew old friendships and prepare for the future.

“I missed our college because it’s so fun,” Kaur said. “Many types of activities happen here, and teachers are so friendly.”

Kaur moved to Prince Albert from India last December so she could enrol in Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s office administration program. She has one more semester before graduating, but plans to stick around and find a job in Prince Albert, even though the weather was a bit unnerving.

“The winters are so cold,” she said with a laugh. “I have never experienced snow before in my life. The place where I used to live, there is no snow, so I experienced snow. It was beautiful.”

For many students, this is the last year they’ll have to worry about going back to school. Ansh Babbar will graduate next spring from the school’s Health Care Cook program. He said it’s surreal to think this will be his last “first day of school.”

“It’s like the end of a long journey,” he said.

Babbar has a business background, but enrolled in the Health Care Cook program because he noticed a lot of job openings in the sector. He also liked that cooks in general are in high demand.

He’s enjoyed his time on the Prince Albert campus, and hopes future students have the same experience he did.

“I made really good friends over hear,” he said. “The instructors are really good. They help me a lot. They’re really supportive, friendly, and they’re really kind too.”

New and returning students enjoyed a picnic on the campus’ green space over the noon hour, then participated in an afternoon of workshops, games, and dance parties.

Sask Polytechnic Student Employment Coordinator Debra Stevenson said it’s exciting to see the students back on campus taking part in welcome week events. She said it’s something the school has tried to promote as a way to help students make friends and feel like they belong.

“It makes people feel included and part of a new community, and it actually leads to better enrollment through the first and second year,” she explained. “People tend to stay when they feel like a part of the group.”

Stevenson has spent the last 23 years working at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. She said the first week back on campus is very different compared to what things were like when she’s started, and she welcomes the change.

“Back in the day you just signed up and off you went,” she remembered. “You got the procedures, but you didn’t get that personal welcome.”

The fall semester officially started on Aug. 28. It runs until Dec. 18.