The Incredible Living and Learning Experience at Grebel

Monday, January 25, 2021

Hannah Dons
Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo provides countless opportunities for students to get involved in the community and gain valuable experiences. Hannah Bernstein, a third year Nanotechnology Engineering student, has taken advantage of the many activities Grebel has to offer. During her three terms as a Grebel resident, she has been a PeaceTech Peer Leader, member of the Production Team for Grebel Musical, Ambassador, Webmaster Rep, Environment Rep, Orientation Week Leader, Social Committee member, Peace Society member, Talent Show performer, techie for college events, and a future Don.

It was not long after touring Waterloo’s residences that Hannah decided she wanted to live at a University College. The sense of community appealed to her, and “would provide more than just a place to sleep and eat.” She toured three such colleges at one of the Waterloo open houses, but was drained after a long and overwhelming day and decided to skip her final tour, which was scheduled at Grebel. Later, in grade twelve, Hannah found herself talking about residences with friends—as many students excited for university do—and was told that she “MUST check out Grebel!” And so, just two days before the application deadline, she did just that and was not disappointed. She described the whole experience as “incredible,” arriving at the booth with the staff already knowing her name. In fact, Hannah said, “Grebel instantly seemed like a place that I could really picture myself living. What made Grebel stand out was that it is a multi-year residence, with students from all faculties, and small enough that you could truly know everyone!”

Hannah CPA
Since joining the Grebel community, Hannah has participated in many teams and activities, all of which have allowed her to grow and learn while enjoying herself thoroughly. One of her biggest involvements has been with the PeaceTech Living-Learning Community. This Living-Learning community is a group made up of like-minded Grebel students who come together to explore the intersection of technology and peace in society. Hannah has led this group for three terms, each of which have brought new discussions and insights, and what she describes as “an incredible learning experience.” Another position that really lets her skills shine is being a Core Team member for Grebel’s all student-run musical. The adaptation to an online platform was challenging, yet rewarding, giving Hannah the opportunity to let her creativity run free, a skill many Grebel students are proud to have. There is truly something for everyone at Grebel, providing the chance to better oneself and others while having fun.

University can be a challenging time, especially in regards to the social aspect of life. This is one reason why Grebel is such an amazing place to call home. “This feeling of community is really emphasized on Wednesdays, at Community Suppers and now Weekly Waves,” said Hannah, “where we all gather to connect and learn together, and share updates on the happenings at Grebel.” Feeling included as a part of the Grebel community is what Hannah finds most rewarding about her time spent at university. “Grebel has made my university experience one that I have never imagined.”

Hannah recalls the time that she set up the Daybreaker Dance for Grebel with fondness. She and the Social Committee got up at the ”crack of dawn”, making juice, setting up tables, lights and speakers. She worried that no one else would want to get up so early to dance before their 8:30am classes, but Grebelites always find time for each other. “I was so surprised to see the Great Hall fill up with fellow Grebelites, tired but ready to dance without fear of embarrassment. It was a blast and I will always remember it fondly.”

Hannah and friends

Grebel is a place for everyone. It is a place where students can be themselves, where everyone truly cares and is included, and where strong bonds and everlasting memories are forged. “It has been such a valuable experience to connect with people across different years of study, different disciplines and who have different beliefs and opinions than myself,” Hannah said. “And I know that my experiences at Grebel will prove to be extremely valuable throughout all of my future endeavors.”

Written by Jace Jaeden Ellis