Nijhum Saha has only just started her first year at McMaster’s DeGroote School of Business, but she’s already become an integral part of the community.
The Brampton native has always been a very community-oriented person. In fact, she says that one of the reasons why she chose to attend DeGroote for university is its reputation for having a strong network and support system for students. “I’ve been researching universities since middle school and I was so excited to come here. When I was accepted, I wanted to contribute to that community network in my own way.”
Even before high school ended, she created two social groups called “DeGroote Class of 2025” (on Instagram and Discord) that aimed to create a sense of community and engage the incoming class.
“I noticed other students were a bit intimidated about going to university. So I started the social groups as a way to put information out there and gather others together to make it a little less scary. Soon, clubs at Mac were contacting me to give out their information and it became kind of a communications centre. I made sure to attend all the webinars and source good information so I could help answer questions and direct people to the right places.”
When she and her fellow classmates arrived on campus in September, the social groups grew even more. With about 600 followers now on Instagram, Nijhum posts stories that share resources for events, club activities, residence info and other social and academic opportunities.
“There’s a lot going on during first year here on campus, and especially with Covid, this seems to be a great way to connect with others going through it too.”
Nijhum says that Welcome Week activities were a lot of fun and a fantastic way to continue building the community and add the in-person element. “I met a lot of Greensuits that first week and introduced myself and was recognized as the admin behind the groups. It was such a fun feeling and it’s been really great to have their support.”
When asked why she’s passionate about fostering a sense of inclusivity, engagement and community, she responds that it’s less scary and more supportive than trying to do it alone.
“I love that the DeGroote experience has lived up to its reputation – the profs are very helpful and the community is amazing. I’m joining the DeGroote Women in Business group and the Accounting Association and I’m going to run for first-year class rep. I know my experience here will be a good one where I can focus on both building a close network and focusing on academics. I’m so glad I chose DeGroote.”