Campus story

Ponderosa Commons offers a unique twist on residence life

By UBC Public Affairs

Campus story
CategoryCampus Life
ProgramStudent Housing & Hospitality Services

 

UBC’s Vancouver campus has the highest percentage of beds per full time students in Canada. And this fall the campus is welcoming another 603 students into residence with the opening of the Ponderosa Commons, which offers a unique twist on residence life.

Built around the concept of vibrant residential hub, the new living quarters increase the number of students housed at UBC’s Vancouver campus to 10,066, giving it the largest housing program in Canada, with some of the most modern living facilities. A 1,600 bed Marine Drive residence was completed in 2008, and Place Vanier, Totem Park and Walter Gage residences have undergone comprehensive renovations in the past few years.

Unlike traditional residences, Ponderosa Commons is a mix of living and academic space. It contains UBC’s first commuter collegium, a home away from home for first-year students living off campus. It also houses the Audain Art Centre, which includes an art gallery and learning space, studios and labs for visual and digital arts students, and the Department of Geography’s Geofluvial Lab. Study areas and dining, fitness, and end-of-trip bicycle facilities are open to the entire campus community.

Located in the centre of campus at the corner of University Boulevard and West Mall, the residence spaces in the new Ponderosa Commons are open to students in second year and above and are split into three houses: Maple, Arbutus and Spruce. About 50 per cent of students will get their own studio apartments while the other 50 per cent will be sharing two and four-bedroom apartments – all equipped with bathrooms, kitchens and living areas.

Ponderosa Commons is designed to bring life to the campus core 12 months a year,” says Joe Stott, director of planning with Campus and Community Planning.  “The social spaces established in Ponderosa will create a hub of activity and contribute to a stronger sense of community on campus.”

Adding 603 beds on campus means hundreds of students won’t be making the daily commute to UBC, giving them more time for schoolwork and extracurricular activities. Andrew Parr, managing director of Student Housing & Hospitality Services, explains that these student housing hubs helps foster both formal and informal interactions between students, faculty and staff.

“UBC can be quite large and daunting,” he says. “These smaller communities really provide you with an opportunity get to know your colleagues and fellow students.”

 

Not only is Ponderosa Commons contributing to the social sustainability on campus, it is also on target to meet LEED Gold certification. Meanwhile, UBC’s Residence Life program is designed to make sure students thrive in residence. Events and activities are held so that students get to know their community and form lasting friendships. Residence advisors live on every floor or block and there is at least one dedicated staff member in every building. When a student gets homesick, has roommate issues or is dealing with something more serious, someone is available day or night who can connect them to the support services on campus.

“Community building from living in residence is quite powerful,” says Parr. “Students tend to do better academically and socially when they live on campus.”

Read the full story at UBC Public Affairs.

Latest Stories

Previous
Danielle G UBC Okanagan Geography student

Pursuing a second degree in Human Geography

Danielle’s experiences as a Geography student UBC Okangan
student

Pursuing a second degree in Human Geography

"As someone who is interested in the humanities and social sciences, an Arts degree at UBC was perfect for me as it allowed me to broaden my knowledge through a variety of different classes, while gaining the necessary requirements for my career goals and graduate school." - Danielle G., Geography
Sophie H. on the Okanagan campus

Exploring cultural theory and social change

UBC Okanagan Arts student Sophie on the power of a Cultural Studies degree
student

Exploring cultural theory and social change

“It is one thing to identify what is wrong with this world, but it’s another to see how people are managing to live and finding joy within it. Because this is where the changes are happening.” - Sophie H., Cultural Studies

Choosing research in Nursing at UBC Okanagan

How Nursing student Dresya is tackling late detection of breast cancer to improve patient outcomes.
student

Choosing research in Nursing at UBC Okanagan

"The program pushes me to redefine what it means to be a 'nurse' daily. There has not been a day where I have not learned something new. Whether it is delving into the pathophysiology of a disease or acquiring a new clinical skill, the learning never stops. In my experience, the program at UBC Okanagan also understands the profound importance of people in nursing. It pushed me to look beyond mastering the scientific basis of nursing, and incorporate the patient's lived experiences into the care I provide." - Dresya D., BSN

Helping Indigenous communities through Nursing

How Ashley made the career change from marketing to nursing, with the aim of making a positive difference within the Indigenous community.
student

Helping Indigenous communities through Nursing

"Once I complete my schooling, my aim is to work closely within the Indigenous population. My passion lies in patient-centered care and ensuring cultural safety, and I'm eager to make a meaningful impact in these areas." - Ashley H., Bachelor of Science in Nursing

An artist's journey to building community

How UBC Okanagan Fine Arts student Ziv fosters community among UBC's international students as an International Peer
student

An artist's journey to building community

"As an International Peer, I aim to introduce the supportive and inclusive environment UBC has for new students to thrive in. I hope to foster a sense of community and belonging among the international student population, because building connections and relationships is crucial to a positive university experience." - Ziv W., Bachelor of Fine Arts

Having a blast getting to know UBC Vancouver

Bachelor of Science student Kayree on taking part in Jump Start Vancouver, Imagine Day and Collegia
student

Having a blast getting to know UBC Vancouver

"Jump Start helped me transition into university life by introducing me to people that took the same classes as me. The orientation leaders for Jump Start also did an amazing job touring us around UBC despite it being so big. I got used to the map of campus within a week." - Kayree R., Bachelor of Science

Getting ready for university

How Academic Essentials prepared Rajalakshmi for life at UBC Vancouver
student

Getting ready for university

"[Academic Essentials] was a great way to get a taste of university life and explore different aspects of academic work. I was able to see how the same content taught to me can be approached and understood in different ways. The feedback and support from the peers and mentors in the program helped me feel more confident in what I knew, while allowing me to learn and grow." - Rajalakshmi N., Bachelor of Applied Science

Finding confidence as a first-year student

How UBC Okanagan’s Orientations helped Soumil feel comfortable and confident before classes started
student

Finding confidence as a first-year student

“Jump Start was incredibly helpful in helping me to make friends before school began. Through the program, I was able to meet a lot of new people who were also incoming first-year students. We participated in a variety of activities and events together, which helped us to bond and get to know each other better. By the time classes started, I already had a solid group of friends who I could turn to for support and advice.” - Soumil C., BSc in Computer Science
next