2,500 flock to Open House

Thierry Harris

Potential students swarmed the campus trying out equipment and gathering information to help them decide where to study next fall.

IITS Creative Media Services

Robotic guitars, weaving looms, helicopter simulators and portfolio evaluations — the Open House held Jan. 27 had something for everyone.

Nearly 2,500 prospective and current students flocked to Concordia to see what we have to offer. Shuttle buses took students between the downtown campus and Loyola.

Displays took up more than 80 booths. Twenty-one information sessions and 34 tours took place over the course of the day. Hundreds of students, staff and faculty received curious visitors with open arms, and personnel from the services sector helped make sure that everything ran smoothly.

The event is in its sixth consecutive year, and has grown from its humble beginnings in the atrium of the J. W McConnell Building, when there were only a couple of tables per faculty and not much else to look at.

“It is amazing to see the wealth of people you can reach in one event for just one day,” said Pina Greco, Manager of Operations and Special Projects in Enrolment and Student Services.

“It's nice for prospective students and their families to have a contact with the department they want to apply to. It’s a good way to start the relationship.”

Visitors to fine arts displays had a chance to view photography facilities, textile dyeing rooms, weaving rooms, Bill Vorn's Red Light robotic art exhibit at the FOFA Gallery, and much more. The Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema information session was full for every presentation.

In the engineering area, the sheer amount of machinery was impressive. A race car and a Mini Baja (a type of dirt buggy) were displayed by Concordia's branch of the Society of Automotive Engineers. A robotics lab and a real-time satellite vision control program of unmanned vehicles, such as hovercraft, helicopters, and submarines, also captured lots of interest.

“The essential thing is to give a feel of the learning environment and to try to emphasize to the students the quality of the engineering program, the laboratories, the faculty, the resources, and our experiential, team-based approach to learning,” said Dan Juras, Technical Officer for Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.

Another event coinciding with Open House was Portfolio Day. Some 400 prospective art students from Quebec, Ontario, the Atlantic Provinces and Northeastern States came to have their portfolios evaluated.

The portfolio event, now in its second year, included representatives from Concordia, the Alberta College of Art and Design, the Emily Carr Institute and NSCAD University.

This is really about helping students prepare their portfolios,” said Amanda French, a recruitment officer in Fine Arts. “It gives them an idea of what they might be missing in their application. It also helps them understand the evaluation criteria for the different schools.”

The Open House was webcast live on the open house website for anyone who couldn’t visit in person. Next year, Greco hopes to have more space and more department tours.

“People come and are interested in a specific department. If they can get a tour of that department, they are ecstatic.”