Outside the bubble

Website creator Sarah Witiuk says she wants to educate students about events happening outside the barriers of campus

Sarah Witiuk, ArtSci ‘12, said once she got back from her international exchange, she stopped getting invited to events happening in Kingston, so she wanted to post them in one easy-to-find place.
Sarah Witiuk, ArtSci ‘12, said once she got back from her international exchange, she stopped getting invited to events happening in Kingston, so she wanted to post them in one easy-to-find place.
Photo: 

“I am the events girl, and yet, I haven’t been to one in so long.”

In her fifth year at Queen’s, student Sarah Witiuk has made her last year of school count with the improvement of student experiences that she herself didn’t have. As the creator of Queen’s Events, Witiuk said she thought there was a gap to fill in her own social life.

“I came here and something didn’t mesh. I wasn’t getting involved in what I want[ed],” Witiuk, ArtSci ’12, said.

Referring to her lack of involvement during her first and second year, Witiuk said she faced this same sense of isolation after returning from her international exchange in fourth year.

“People stopped inviting me to local events on Facebook because I was gone for a year,” Witiuk said.

After experiencing this predicament twice, Witiuk wondered why there wasn’t a place that listed all events accessible to students.

Tired of feeling out of the loop, Witiuk decided to make queensevents.ca, a website to promote events within walking distance of campus. “I just want to get people involved, because we spend a lot of time in class, the library or at parties, when there are other things you can do,” she said.

Created in March last year and launched in September, her site has gained popularity among students and has branched into Twitter and Facebook pages.

After recently reaching 100,000 hits on her website, Witiuk said she’s astounded by the results.

“Going from isolation to this; it’s been a whirlwind adventure. Queen’s loves it,” she said.

Initially, this boom was almost overwhelming, as Witiuk was trying to keep track of events using ten different calendars, including the Queen’s Academic Calendar.

But with the addition of three volunteers, Witiuk has become productive in promoting events ranging from academics to arts.

However, these four individuals aren’t the only people adding to a long list of events. Over 80 per cent of the time, it’s visitors of the site that are posting events on the website.

“It’s a community website where you become the promoter.” Both Queen’s students and community members use the site to keep in touch with the local scene, and help pull students out of what Witiuk calls the “bubble,” which confines many Queen’s students to campus.

Ironically, Witiuk hasn’t attended a local event in a while due to her busy task of keeping tabs on the community.

After buying tickets to see Stars in Kingston, Witiuk was excited to finally relax. The site had also hosted a draw on the site for two lucky visitors to see the band. Witiuk sympathized with a runner-up and ended up giving her ticket away.

“I’m staying in Kingston next year so hopefully I’ll have time to attend events after school.”

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.