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Open House 2015: a ‘happy, high-energy vibe’ welcomes future students

Concordians from across the university community helped showcase the vibrant learning environment on campus
November 10, 2015
By Sarah Buck

More than 5,500 people, including prospective students and their families came out on Saturday, November 7, for Concordia’s Open House and Portfolio Day.

“I always tell future students how important it is for them to check out the atmosphere and see if it’s the right fit for them,” says recruiter Ayanna Ryan, who spent the fall travelling across Ontario and France. “And it’s so great when I see them again in Montreal and I get to show them what the university has to offer in person.”

Matthew Stiegemeyer, director of Student Recruitment, says he’s very pleased with the way this year’s events came together. Savvy Papayiannis, manager of Student Recruitment, took the lead in making sure that all the pieces fit, he says. “The thought and the sweat and the sheer number of hours that she put into organizing Open House is truly amazing.”

Papayiannis says her biggest reward was seeing people arrive early and spend all day on campus. “It’s a big university, there’s so much to know — so we wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to take it all in.”

Those efforts included sending registrants a personalized itinerary ahead of time, making the event guide easier to browse and rethinking the positioning of bilingual signage, in order to make it more visible.

Another improvement this year: providing café-style seating and making snacks available, including popcorn, cotton candy and BeaverTails. “We wanted to let people take a break, and then keep going,” says Papayiannis. “I really liked the fact that if people wanted to sit down and have a conversation, there was a space for it and you could do it over coffee. It was so nice to see students I’d been in touch with from the United States, and get the chance to sit down with them and actually chat.”

This year marks record attendance on the Loyola Campus. Recruiter Emily Fjeldsted, who was based at Loyola for the day, says there was a high-energy, happy vibe. “Whenever I asked students how their day went, it was always a really positive answer, which was awesome,” she says. “People were impressed with how many different things they could do and they really took advantage.” She points out the benefit that almost all departments on the campus had tours of their facilities.

A favourite moment for Fjeldsted was when Department of Physics chair Alexandre Champagne brought a high-voltage machine up onto the Spotlight Stage. He then ran the machine around the edge of an empty Pepsi can. Prospective students pressed a button and the energy field crumpled the can.

After the demonstration, a core group of visitors stayed behind. “Champagne clearly captured their imagination. And they had the chance to keep talking with him.”

Stiegemeyer says he hopes everyone involved feels a sense of accomplishment after a very successful event. “There are hundreds of Concordians — faculty, staff, students — who deserve an individual thank you for all their efforts.”

Future students will have another chance to experience Concordia this winter. Admissions Information Day takes place on Saturday, February 13, along with Portfolio Day, an opportunity for future Fine Arts students to gain valuable feedback on their work.


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