*This article was originally published in The Runner on March 23, 2017*
Most students at Kwantlen Polytechnic University can agree that there are some pretty great advantages in attending a smaller institution, but how does our unviersity compare with other postsecondary schools in the area? Who are KPU’s real rivals, and for what reasons do they choose to compete with us? Can we compare ourselves to schools such as SFU and UBC?
First on the list of schools that comes to mind is Douglas College, our old sister school. Douglas and KPU certainly share a few similarities, such as smaller class sizes and a lack of on-campus residences, but one way they have us beat is in their varsity sports teams. KPU’s teams were cut a few years back due to budget cuts.
KPU, however, excels compared to many schools in regards to our trades programs, which are largely held at the Cloverdale campus. Some of the more notable programs at KPU include ferrier, brewing and operations, acupuncture, and even marijuana management programs
Next on the list of rivals is the University of the Fraser Valley. UFV shares small classes with KPU and Douglas, and they also have varsity sports teams, but it’s their student union building on the Abbotsford campus that gives them a competitive edge. In it, you can find a student-run dine-in or take-out restaurant as well as a radio station.
Whether or not their student life is better than ours is debatable, but UFV provides much more opportunity for social lives. Unlike Douglas and KPU, they do have a university residence, and their cafeteria provides a wide variety of options, whereas we only have Sodexo, Tim Hortons (run by Sodexo), and the Grassroots.
By comparing KPU to these two schools alone, our lack of a sports team really leaves us in the dust. Sports provide a sense of togetherness and friendly competition with other schools. It’s difficult for KPU students to feel involved with the community without friendly competition through sports. It almost feels as though we’re being left out.
When it comes to larger schools such as SFU and UBC, I don’t think that a fair comparison can even be made. We aren’t as big of a school, and we certainly don’t get as much funding. If we want these bigger universities to notice us as a competitor, students need to start advocating for change at KPU.
If the cafeteria food can’t even hold a candle to schools that are supposed to be on our level, what can we do about it? If we feel like our student life is suffering, only we can do something to change that. KPU students need to show involvement in our school environment.
In the academic force, we get just as good of an education as students who attend schools such as SFU and UBC, and we even get to know our professors better. KPU students receive just as many job prospects as those who go to UBC and SFU. We have the ability to stand on the same level of schools nearby. What’s stopping us?