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The Residence Life & Education department strives to create an environment that fosters learning, personal growth, and positive social interaction. Through programming, Residence Life Staff are able to achieve these goals and offer the best possible residence experience. Our Community Service Learning Program offers students engagement and leadership opportunities while they give back to their surrounding community. To connect with friends, University resources, and the City of Victoria, you can look forward to our ongoing and Residence Wide Programs held throughout the year.  


Our Residence Orientation has been created so that current and prospective students can learn first-hand what life is like on a university campus and get acquainted with the City of Victoria. Discover not only where you will eat and sleep but what kinds of activities you can participate in and who else will be living in your new community!

Participating in Orientation will make a difference to your experience at UVic. All new students are encouraged to attend the Orientation activities. Residence Orientation begins in September 1, 2013 during Move-In Weekend for all students living on campus and more residence orientation events will take place within the first six weeks of school. When you sign up for New Student Orientation you will automatically be registered for Residence.

You can find out more Orientation information on the Weeks Of Welcome Page.

ResWide Programs

One of the best parts about living in residence are the great programs that you can take part in – be sure to mark these dates in your calendar! You can also follow us on Twitter or ‘like’ us on Facebook for more updates on our programs and events!

For ongoing Health & Wellness and Academic programs, please see our Residence Resource Hub calendars.

Community Service Learning

Winter 2013 Alternative Reading Break


The Program

Are you ready to make a difference? To learn while helping others? Do you want a life changing learning experience? The University of Victoria Residence Services Alternative Reading Break program provides you with this type of opportunity. This 7 day experience will allow you to take a closer look at a local/ national issues and investigate your own capacity to affect positive social change. This is a fantastic experience to apply some of what you are learning in classes to a real societal issue and an opportunity to add to your resume. Throughout the experience you will be encouraged to engage in personal and group reflection as you consider and develop your own sense of civic responsibility, leadership abilities, and social conscience.

The Issue: Homelessness in Victoria

Victoria is British Columbia’s capital city; known for its beautiful landscapes, historical architecture and multitude of cultural opportunities such as art galleries, museums, parks and theaters. However, being such a wonderful place to live leads to an extremely expensive and competitive housing and rental market. This means that the gap between income and housing costs is one of the greatest contributors to homelessness in Victoria. This problem is exacerbated as the number of suites at lower rates continues to decrease, while the number of expensive units increases (Pauly, Jackson, Wynn-Williams, and Stiles 2012).

There are an estimated 157,000 people who are homeless each year in Canada, with 65,000 estimated youth (The term “youth” commonly refers to those between 12-30 years of age) (Trypuc, Robinson 2009). Many homeless youth do not sleep “rough” on the streets but are rather hidden, sleeping in cars, at friends’ or strangers’ houses or couch surfing. In the last year over 1,600 individuals used an emergency shelter bed in Greater Victoria and the occupancy rate of emergency shelters rose from 95% to 111% (Pauly et. al., 2012).

What We’re Doing: From Streets to Home

This Community Service Learning trip will help you to consider issues around access to housing, such as social issues that lead to homelessness, societal implications of homelessness, access to housing, and the privilege of having a safe space of one’s own. Your week will begin at the Mustard Seed, a support center for the Homeless in Victoria, where we will learn about their work, and make and serve dinner as part of their “street café” program. From there, we will move to Woodwynn Farm, a therapeutic community for the Homeless. We will spend the next four days at the farm where we will work alongside clients living in this program while we learn about organic farming. At Woodwynn, our accommodations will echo what many people who cannot afford comfortable housing face. We will be staying in a heated barn and trailers, we will have limited access to showers, and the toilet facilities will be outhouses. We will end our journey at Pacifica Housing’s “From Streets to Home” program where we will learn about their “housing first” approach to supporting individuals who are experiencing cyclical homelessness. Through service, discussion, and reflection, participants will gain both a micro and macro understanding of the struggles and barriers to housing in the city of Victoria, and the systems that are being put in place to combat these barriers.

The Trip at a Glance

Day Location Activities at a glance
February 7
The Mustard Seed
- Tour facilities and learn about the great programs at The Mustard Seed
- Make and serve dinner to members of Victoria’s homeless community by helping out with the “Street Cafe” program
February 7
Woodwynn Farms
- Move into Woodwynn Farm
- Settle into our home for the next six days
February 8-13
Woodwynn Farms
- Participate in Woodynn programs along with clients
- Activities include working on the farm, movie and discussion nights, early morning yoga and preparing meals
February 13
Pacifica Housing
- Visit Pacifica Housing’s “From Street’s to Home” program and learn about how they are working to help people find a home of their own
- Help sort donations for those moving into their new home


Cost: $450 (participants are able to work as a group to fundraise to meet some of their trip costs and/or apply for the student activity grant here)

Number of Participants: 9

Dates: February 7- 13 (Trip), there will also be three pre trip meetings to be determined based on participant schedules

Community Partners: Woodwynn Farms, The Mustard Seed and Pacifica Housing

Accommodations: Campers and /or heated barn, participants must bring bedding and towel, outhouses, limited showers available

Meals: Meals will be provided at the service locations.

Apply: Please click here to download an Application Form. Applications are due Monday December 16th at noon. Applications should be emailed to reslife@uvic.ca. If you have any questions about the Alternative Reading Break please email Robin at rcopesta@uvic.ca. (Selection will be made based on graded quality of answers).

Pauly B., Jackson, N., Wynn-Williams, A., Stiles, K. (2012). Report on Housing and Supports 2011/12 Quiet Crisis: Homelessness and at Risk in Greater Victoria. Greater Victoria coalition to end Homelessness and centre for addictions Research of British Columbia

Trypuc, B., & Robinson, J. (2009). Homeless in Canada. Charity Intelligence Canada

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