By Marika Kemeny
If you were a high school student applying to university, you could not have spent your Sunday more profitably and more enjoyably than at the Glendon March Break Gala on March 14th, presented by the Glendon Recruitment and Liaison Office.
Above: High-school students visit the displays located in the dining hall at Glendon College
The organizing team chose an innovative approach, providing the visitors with "A Behind the Scenes Look at Life as a Glendon Student”, a glimpse of what it is like to be a member of Glendon’s vibrant community. And the response confirmed that applicants and their parents really wanted to find out. Over 300 visitors were welcomed - a record crowd - from various parts of the GTA and from as far away as Sudbury, Calgary, Quebec, and Texas!
Glendon’s Principal McRoberts gave the visitors a personal welcome and highlighted the history of the campus, including an account of recent visits and lectures by prominent guests, such as former Prime Minister Kim Campbell, writer-philosopher John Ralston Saul and Quebec Premier Jean Charest.
Guests were treated to breakfast and entertainment by award-winning Glendon Drama Studies students, who played the roles of actors doing improvisations. Using the theme of "Behind the Scenes", they gave humorous renditions of various Hollywood movies. A mini-documentary, produced by and featuring Glendon students, followed International Studies student Chris de Eyre and Psychology student Celia Jutras around during a typical day on-campus.
Left: Isabelle Côté
Immediately after this entertainment, two students who participated in international exchanges last year, gave an account of their experiences, accompanied by slide shows of their pictures. Fourth-year students Isabelle Côté (who spent a year in Hong Kong) and Natalia Crowe (who was at the Sorbonne, in Paris) set the audience abuzz with their enthusiastic accounts of the great experiences they had had. Who could doubt the excitement of the first sight of the Eiffel Tower as the airplane was about to land, or the first experience of a real typhoon! The audience in the Dining Hall, packed to the rafters, listened with rapt attention.
Next, a uniquely Glendon event - a panel discussion, designed to offer prospective students the experience of a real university-level debate, addressed a topic of general interest: “Reality TV: Love It or Hate It?” Each of the four panelists provided insights into the discussion through the filter of their own specializations: Professors Elisabeth Abergel (International Studies), Robert Wallace (Drama Studies) and Robert Kenedy (Sociology), as well as Director of Recruitment and Liaison Tobi Strohan, M.B.A. Hosted by David Leavitt, a graduate of York’s Fine Arts and Cultural Studies program, a lively discussion ensued, which engaged the audience who presented a broad range of opinions and observations. Without realizing it, they were experiencing university first hand.
Even the campus tours – the bread-and-butter of recruiting events – had some pizzazz, billed as “Tours with a Twist”. As the visitors progressed along the campus lanes, surprise actors popped up to present their respective stations. The “pièce de résistance”: at historic Glendon Manor, the original owner, Mr. E.R. Wood himself made an appearance, played by Theatre Glendon student Jeff Cooper.
The final event of the day was a return to the beautifully decorated Dining Hall, where visitors could stop at information stations representing the various programs and student services. Guests had the opportunity to speak directly with professors, staff and students from every part of the university. Another brand new feature this year - the "Celebrate Bilingualism" booth, with a guest from the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages.
A number of senior administrators from the York campus expressed their delight and approval of the success of the day. York Director of Recruitment and Marketing, Barbara Brown, Vice President of Students, Bonnie Neuman, and York Registrar and AVP Enrollment Management and Services, Rob Tiffin complimented the organizers and the entire Recruitment and Liaison team for their imaginative and innovative approach, their superlative organization and teamwork.
March Break Gala 2004 was the biggest single recruitment event in Glendon’s history. What counted most was the unanimous praise and enthusiastic participation of the visitors – an excellent prospect for this year’s enrolment.
* Marika Kemeny is the Public Relations and Communications Advisor of Glendon College