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UofGH students explore unity through diversity at the Kin Games

A student leaps in the air during rehearsal

A group of Kinesiology students recently represented the University of Guelph-Humber at the Kin Games, the largest annual undergraduate Kinesiology conference in Canada.

Since 2001, the student-run conference and competition has been hosted in seven provinces with over 800 undergraduate students taking part each year. With the aim of encouraging students to explore health, well-being and diversity, the competition challenges students to participate in a variety of fun activities that represent the four pillars of the Kin Games: athletics, academics, dance and spirit.

For the UofGH students who take part every year, there is nothing else quite like the Kin Games.

“It’s an amazing time. I’m so glad I found out about it,” said fourth-year Kinesiology student Nicole Mordue, who just attended the Kin Games for a third straight year.

“The people you meet, the connections you make – it’s amazing. There are still people I talk to from schools all across Canada. I love sports, I love athletics, and every year the Kin Games are a little different.”

Forging lasting friendships

The theme of this year’s Kin Games was “Unity Through Diversity.” Athletic activities included seated volleyball, dodgeball and ultimate frisbee.

UofGH's team poses for a group shot

UofGH’s participants also worked hard in advance to create a custom dance to the tune of Jessie J’s “Who You Are.” The team wore T-shirts under their sweaters that each featured one of their insecurities, and at the conclusion of the dance, they opened their sweaters to reveal that the shirts together spelled “We Are Human.”

Melissa Holt has taken part in the Kin Games in all four years she has studied at UofGH. She said the bonding that takes place helps students form enduring friendships and connections, while allowing introductions to peers from across the country.

“Honestly, it’s such a good environment,” she said. “For any rookie who joins the team, we say that you can’t really explain Kin Games until you get there. It’s wild and crazy – it’s basically camp for adults.

“I absolutely love it, and that’s why I’ve kept doing it.”

Gaining mentorship in your studies

Academics are one of the pillars of the Kin Games, and beyond the learning that takes place during the conference, students find another educational benefit to taking part: they meet older students with valuable experience to offer.

UofGH's team huddles

“After participating in first year, I knew people right from first year to fourth year,” Holt recalled. “Whether you were looking for help with coursework or you were curious about a class, you always had someone to go to because you knew people in all years of the program.

“That’s why I loved it in first year. I would say: ‘Oh my goodness, I don’t understand this course.’ But I would realize I had a friend in fourth year who’s done this already. It was really easy to communicate and everyone was really friendly. It’s a great way to help out with all four years of your education.”

Second-year student Michael Calabria participated in the Kin Games for the first time this year. Even before attending the conference, he felt his social circle expanding.

“I wanted to get involved because I felt in first year, I was just not getting involved in school as much as I wanted,” he said. “This has made me branch out a lot more. In first year, I didn’t really get to know my classmates. Now, I know I have friendly faces in the hallway. I get to know my classmates, then I get to know their friends, and it’s like a family tree from there.”