By Ruobing Yu
On the case of the Stratford system
Calling all GBDA students. If you’re looking to learn more about the campus and city where you’ll be spending most of your days, then look no further.
The idea of the Stratford campus first sprouted in 2006, when Mayor Dan Mathieson, the Stratford Festival, and the University of Waterloo agreed to explore the possibility of having a liberal arts college in the growing artistic hub that is the city of Stratford. However, the Stratford campus that we see today is much more than a liberal arts college — it’s an extension of the most innovative university in Canada, focused on the intersection of technology, business, and art.
First opened in September 2010 under the Faculty of Arts and newly established in 2018 as the Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business, this satellite campus hosts the Bachelor of Global Business and Digital Arts (GBDA) program as well as the Master of Digital Experience Innovation (MDEI) program.
First-year students will be shuttled to and from Stratford on Fridays, spending the rest of the week taking classes on main campus — but in second, third, and fourth-year, all of your classes will be in Stratford.
So what is the Stratford campus really like? The building houses six large classrooms, two media labs fully equipped with Macs, the Engage Lab for all your digital media and 3-D printing needs, a ton of project rooms that can be booked online, and lots of open space suitable for studying or lounging. Not only is it a great environment for learning and collaborating, but it’s also a great place to relax and/or socialize. Unwind on any of the dozen Fatboy® beanbags scattered around the building, play a rousing match or two of ping pong, or compete with your friends in Super Smash Bros Melee (yes, the campus has a Nintendo Switch).
For lunch, nearby small businesses such as Soup Surreal, Mone-Thai, or Fish Time Fish & Chips are not to be missed, but for the more frugal-minded, you can always bring your own food and microwave it on any floor of campus. And if you ever find yourself with a bit of spare time, definitely check out local boutiques and specialty stores in Stratford’s downtown core, or even take a stroll to the riverside for swan-watching. If you happen to be a Justin Bieber fan, then you’re in luck — the Justin Bieber hometown exhibit at the Stratford Perth Museum has a discounted admission rate for students and will be open until the end of 2018.
One thing’s for sure: you’ll never be bored when surrounded by your fellow GBDA classmates. Good luck, Stratfordians!