The School of Urban and Regional Planning has a strong sense of community and a very congenial atmosphere. Students arrive at the School from destinations across Canada and from around the world. This geographically diverse student body creates a vibrant and engaging intellectual and social environment. Students share offices on the same floor of Sutherland Hall as the faculty, staff, classrooms and labs. A strong bond of friendship develops among SURP students, which lasts well beyond graduation. We keep in touch after graduation with our newsletters, social media and reunions.
A distinguishing feature of the School is the participatory mode of decision-making. Students participate fully in the running of the School, and are formally represented in the academic, budget, speakers, appointment and personnel committees, and the Board. The International Experience Awards program, which provides financial support annually to three students to go on a field trip, is funded by the School but managed entirely by students. Most of the extracurricular academic events and social functions are organized by the students. This participatory culture, together with the long hours that faculty and students spend at the School on group projects and studio assignments, are mainly responsible for the sense of community and esprit de corps that characterize the School.
But it is not all work! SURP students are also engaged in a number of sporting, recreational and social events. Every year, students participate in numerous events such as karaoke, skating at Kingston Market Square, watching the Kingston Frontenacs hockey team and popcorn and movie nights. Students plan and organize both the mid-year (winter holiday) and end-of-year parties. At these events, spouses and family members of SURP students come together in celebration of the year's achievements. Many SURP students share rental accommodations, with a few of them being the centre of infamous parties such as the SURP Halloween or outdoor BBQs.