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UBC students performing in Totem Park Musical
July 26, 2019
3 mins read

Your trusty guide to first-year residence events

The UBC Life Residence Guide

No matter which residence area you live in (Place Vanier, Totem Park, or Orchard Commons), you will have lots of opportunities to get involved—right at your new home.

Here’s some information to get you started!

Event types

These are the major types of events:

  • Floor events, for residents on your specific floor.
  • House events, for residents in your specific house.
  • House Council events, for residents in your house and in a connected house.
  • Residence-wide events, for residents in your residence area, i.e. all of Place Vanier, all of Totem Park, or all of Orchard Commons.
  • UBC-wide events, for all first years living in residence. 

These events may be held by 2 groups of individuals, or a combination of both:

  1. Residence Advisors (RAs) from Residence Life (these are student employees of Student Housing and Hospitality Services).
  2. Residence Council Members (Council Execs and House Presidents) from your Residence Hall Association (RHA) area residence council (these are student volunteers elected by last year’s residents).

Some first-year residence events you may hear about 

Residence events can vary from one area to another, depending on what the RAs and the Residence Councils in your year decide.

To get the most precise details, be sure to check out the posters in your building, talk to your RAs and Residence Council Members, and stay connected to Facebook updates from your RA and House President.

Here’s a list of just some events that you may get to attend this year (they don’t necessarily repeat each year!):

1. Week of Welcome events in residence

In your first few days in residence, you can find a bunch of activities designed to welcome you to your new home.

Sat, Aug 31 a.k.a. Move In Day: Residence Dinner #1, Varsity Football Game

Sun, Sep 1: Mandatory Floor Meeting, First Year Festival, Residence Dinner #2, Floor Lounge Decorating

Mon, Sep 2: Mandatory House Meeting, Residence Dinner #3, Talent Show Coffee House

Tue, Sep 3 a.k.a. Imagine UBC: Meet your Prof-in-Residence

2. Floor Representative election and training

You can volunteer in your area residence council as a Floor Representative, and work alongside your House President to create events. Depending on your RHA area residence council, you may also get the chance to take on other Representative roles, e.g. Health & Wellness, Sports, and Sustainability. 

Applications are usually due around late September, and you have to be elected by your floormates. If you’ve been elected to be a Floor Rep, you can participate in a training session and meet Floor Reps from other residence areas!

3. Sock Wars

This extended game of tag/hide-and-seek/The Hunger Games gets you on the run and in a web of deceit.

You’re assigned someone to physically tag with a sock, and have to evade the person to whom you’re assigned. You get to carry safety items and stake out at safety zones to avoid being eliminated. Last one standing gets a prize (and bragging rights).

4. Coffeehouses

Enjoy performances by your fellow residents, or, if you’re up for it, sign up to be a performer. Get snacks and front-row seats, and grab a friend to go with you.

5. Sports games

You can get the chance to play sports, join teams to play in an inter-area tournament, and head out on night games.

6. Casual socials

Potential socials include floor decorating, cookie decorating, and board game nights.

7. The Residence Musical

You can audition for acting/singing roles in the musical, play instruments in the ensemble, and apply for a managing role. Or, you can just watch performances and sing along (and eat).

8. Formals and galas

Eat, dress in fancy clothes, strut about in a sparkling space, and snap some snazzy pictures.

9. Council elections

You can run for Residence Council Member positions in March, and be back in the same residence area next year! Positions may include President, VP Internal, VP External, Treasurer, and House President.

10. RA Auctions

Bid on your RAs or Residence Council Members to fundraise for a cause.

And these are just a few of the events in residence! You can anticipate way more opportunities to make connections with other residents, whether it’s something organized by Residence Life, the RHA, or a spontaneous adventure with your neighbours.

Additional opportunities

As part of the Professor-in-Residence program, profs hold office hours in residence Commonsblocks. Drop by to just say hi, or to get advice and academic support—over a meal!

Stop by a Nurse-on-Campus booth in the Commonsblock to ask any health-related questions, receive giveaways, and participate in interactive health activities.


In my first year in Place Vanier, the PVRA held area-wide events, such as Graffiti Night, Halloween House Hop, and Spirit Week. I was a Floor Rep, and helped out at House Council events, such as helping to cook a Thanksgiving dinner. I’m a House President this year, so I’m back in action in the residence community. I hope that you will enjoy living in residence as much as I did!

Welcome to your new home, right here at UBC!

Get involved and stay connected to your residence community, look out for posters and online updates, and follow UBC Residence on Facebook and Instagram.

Header photo credit: Ivan Yastrebov