Having visited the UBC Longhouse several times throughout my youth, I always knew that the beautiful building would be available for me when I became a student at UBC. What I didn’t know, however, was that it would become the heart of my UBC experience, and that the building itself would become my second home.
In addition to having quiet and comfortable places to study, I found that the Longhouse is where I have made the most meaningful connections on campus. Within my first few weeks as a student here, I had met lots of incredible people, and I’d easily become friends with the many others who also found joy in going to the Longhouse on a regular basis. Also, I was warmly welcomed by all the wonderful staff who work there. They have gone above and beyond to help me in a number of ways, and they introduced me to the many services that are available to me as an Aboriginal student. If I ever need help with my studies, my wellbeing, or I just need to chat, I know that they are there to help. I immediately felt a sense of belonging here, and with that, I knew I had found my place at UBC.
Tuesdays are particularly special at the Longhouse. Every week, students and staff gather for lunch and enjoy time together over a wonderful meal. The lunches, I think, are a really great opportunity to get to know different people, and connect with others from all over campus and the greater community. I always look forward to hanging out with my friends and stepping away from my studies during this time. While there are numerous opportunities for people to come together at the Longhouse, the Tuesday lunches are weekly events that really show how the Longhouse community is one that consists of friendship and togetherness.
While I continue to visit the Longhouse on a daily basis, I think what I cherish the most is the fact that it is not simply a place that will only be here for me as a student. I know that long after I graduate, the Longhouse will still be here, and that I will always be a part of the beautiful Longhouse community.
It is hard to put into words how much the Longhouse means to me, but in the most general sense, I can truly say I feel as if I belong here. Indeed, the Longhouse has shaped my entire university experience at, and I simply cannot imagine my life at UBC without it.
If you haven’t been by the Longhouse recently, or if you’ve never been by before, I encourage you to come by and visit, especially if you are an Indigenous student. You are always welcome here. While I’m sure that you will find something you’ll like, I do hope that the Longhouse will be for you what it has been for me and for hundreds of students throughout the last 23 years: a home away from home.
Huy Chexw a. All my relations.