by John Leung

When I moved into residence on a warm Saturday morning in September, I felt very confused for a long time. I was so puzzled because everyone kept talking about these “dons”. I realized that this whole “don” thing must be a very big deal around campus, or at least in residence, since it was constantly being brought up.

After a while of trying to guess what a don was, I decided to ask a friendly- looking older student. She explained that each floor or section in residence makes up a house, and the dons are responsible for heading a house. They offer guidance and support to their students while ensuring discipline on their floor. Dons are more experienced, older (and not to mention very good-looking) students usually pursuing a Master’s or even their PhD. Dons are equivalent to Resident Advisors in other Canadian universities.

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Each house also has a particular theme: for the 4th floor in 45 Willcocks it’s Monopoly!

Dons are extremely useful in helping students living in residence. In case of emergency, there is a don on duty every night who can provide assistance. They are also there whenever someone needs school-related advice, mental health support, condoms and much more! This hard-working bunch, along with their house council, takes part in planning amazingly fun events for the whole house. Students who commute also have their own houses and dons, too, with a house for the geographic areas north, south, east and west of the St George campus.

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Luckily, during dinner the other day, I ran into a couple of dons and got the chance to ask them some questions…

Why did you want to be a don?

Anthony (don of Robinson House): I became a don because mentoring students is something I am fond of. Donning gave me the opportunity to do this on a grander scale.

Any favourite moments of being a don?

Michelle (don of Carr House): Carr kicked butt during holiday decorating last year. The best part wasn’t winning but it [winning] was great, because so many students came out [to participate in decorating].

What advice do you have for anyone who has an interest in becoming a don?

Anthony & Michelle:

  • Be yourself and demonstrate patience.
  • Show your desire to help students.
  • Don’t be afraid to bring your ideas to the table.

 

Although I cannot host a party in my dorm room every night because the don will shut it down, I personally believe that dons play a significant in creating a community atmosphere at school for everyone. As a first-year student, I definitely feel more comfortable living in residence because of the dons. My favourite things about dons are that they are like your older siblings and you can always rely on them for help!

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The hard-working dons of New College Residence! The don board is right outside Wilson Dining Hall.

 

See all photos in the “I have a… don?” album

I want to ask you: what sounds like the best thing that dons do? In my opinion it sounds like a fun job – what do you think? Comment below!