THUNDER BAY - The warning from campus security left Daniel Zhaou just a bit nervous.
The 17-year-old from Toronto is at Lakehead University along with 65 other students as part of the 15th Shad Valley program, which started Monday. As an introduction to the area, students were warned that there could be bears on campus and that feeding them was not a good idea.
Dr. Sultan Siddiqui, the director of Shad Lakehead and chair of mechanical engineering at Lakehead, says this year’s theme is to develop a new product that will help people reduce their carbon footprint.
“Our goal here is to foster innovation,” he says.
Even after a vigourous application process to get into the program, Zhaou says it’s a big change coming to Thunder Bay from Toronto.
“I was really attracted to the program because the setting itself is amazing,” he says. “It’s way out of your comfort zone. You’re forced to live a month with new people that you’ve never met in your life.”
Another one of those students is 17-year-old Rohini Gupta from Ottawa. Like Zhaou, it is her first time experiencing Northwestern Ontario.
“We ended up climbing a mountain (Sunday) in rain and thunder and lightning and huge mosquitoes,” she said. “Afterwards...we could see all the nature and the landscape and it was so beautiful.”
Gupta says the landscape surrounding the university may impact her decision as to where she wants to go in the future.
“It is important for a campus to look aesthetically nice and obviously Lakehead has that down completely,” she said.