Out-of-Province Student Association
The Out of Province Student Association (OPSA) is a unique community of Canadian students from beyond Ontario's borders. The group provides both transitional and ongoing academic and social support for out of province students attending Western University.
Founded by two students from Newfoundland and Alberta, the group is the first of its kind with the goal of helping students succeed in University on both an academic and social level. Working together with the department of Academic Success & Engagement, OPSA wants to make these students feel at home at Western and provide them access to additional resources in order to succeed and make the most of their university experience. Out of province students do not have the luxury of going home for the weekend when they are sick, in need of groceries, or simply need a hug. These students often travel greater distances than international students to attend Western.
OPSA provides a unique mentorship program for incoming first year students to connect with an upper year students from the same province - often times from the same city and program as well. Initial connection takes place in the summer prior to arrival at Western in September, and guidance and support is maintained throughout the year. The mentor can support the first year student in timetabling and registration (as often times out of province students can not travel to Western during Summer Academic Orientation), and this program provides an avenue that first years can direct questions/concerns. For a first year student this is a comfort of a first friend at Western as they embark on their journey, and for the upper year student it provides beneficial leadership experience. Mentor pairs can connect and communicate through email, phone calls, Skype sessions, or even meet in person.
If you are interested in being a mentor or are a first year student looking for an upper year mentor please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Throughout the year, review sessions based on different grade 12 curriculum will take place to assist first year students academically. Students will be made aware of professor office hours, tutorial sessions, and given tips on how to stay ahead in university. OPSA will highlight the resources offered by the Student Success Center and Student Development Center at Western such as the writing skills center, psychological services, and workshops for example regarding time management and multiple-choice examinations. OPSA will also provide updates and make students aware of important announcements throughout the year. Upper year students will be available for office hours throughout the year for directional resources (or just a friendly chat) where first year students can come for help and support.
OPSA Mentors can help connect students to campus resources:
- Careers & Experience success.uwo.ca
- Writing Support Centre writingsupport.uwo.ca
- Learning Development & Success learningskills.uwo.ca
- Accessible Education sas.uwo.ca
- Psychological Services sdc.uwo.ca/psych
- Academic Workshops https://studentservices.uwo.ca/secure/workshops/learningWorkshops.cfm
OPSA is a community of students to support one another and can be your Western Family when far from home. OPSA is a great networking opportunity for students and a way to connect to share similar experiences. Through this community and the social networks involved students from all years can connect for example to share a taxi to the airport or travel safely together when heading home for the holidays.
Through OPSA students are invited to attend holiday events. During key holidays such as Thanksgiving and Easter it is often not feasible for out of Province students to go home, and they are left alone in London. No one wants to be stuck at residence! OPSA provides friendly gatherings and events at these times where students can come hang out with friends and feel at home.
Getting to Know London
Its important for first year students to connect with resources they may need on and off campus. The Out of Province Student Association helps students as they arrive to London and provides them with a student designed map of the city which pinpoints places rated by upper years as hotspots for newcomers - from the best food, to a great relaxation or workout spot. This portion of OPSA is guided by students from Ontario who are committed and familiar with London and the surrounding areas. Upper years will also assist in informing students of places to volunteer and involvement opportunities in London. Getting to know London will occur throughout the year, with emphasis in the first few weeks of school.
Please contact email@example.com if you have any questions or concerns, or are looking for other ways to help out or be involved.