Have you run into someone lately – who was wearing a friendly smile over a noticeably inviting face, hair pulled back in tight bun, donned in comfortable casual gear over a pair of comfortable flat shoes-either biking to Trent by the rotary trail path or jut strolling around drumlin area, during lunch hours?
Then, you have already met her, the new head of Champlain College, Melanie Sedge.
She is not your typical monotonous administrator, who will be caught sitting behind a desk only to organize work and give out instructions. Instead, she is everything unexpected for in a manager, but a perfect match for Champlain.
Sedge holds true to Champlain’s spirit of “adventure, discovery, and global citizenship.” She is an explorer, runner, eco-conscious, and mountaineer, loves paddling her canoe in the Canadian wilderness, and loves landscapes, exploring Canada and being outside and immersed in nature. She is also passionate about cross-country skiing and is a member of the Kawartha Nordic Ski Club.
As a child she lived in Alberta then landed in Mississauga, Toronto Area but spent the summer at a cottage near Peterborough. She holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from the university of Guelph and a postgraduate diploma in ecotourism management from Fleming College up in Haliburton.
After which she spent her time travelling the world, backpacking, and hiking, and camping. Hitchhiking around New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Southeast Asia, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, are just the few of the places Sedge explored.
Before her Trent days, besides travelling she also worked as a mountain biking guide in British Columbia and Alberta. Then in Killarney Provincial Park as a sea kayaking guide, canoeing and hiking guide.
As new as she may be for the current job, Sedge is anything but a stranger to Trent University. She has been a member of Trent family for more than 14 momentous years.
Her legacy at Trent began when she started working in the Canadian Studies department for the experiential education program, called the ‘summer explorations in Canadian cultures’.
The program later on was handed over to the Julian Blackburn College to the continuing education program. She also ended up with a position in continuing education. She was responsible for running the general interest program noncredit course that was for community members, as well as ‘summer explorations in Canadian cultures’. After which she had been working with the athletics for the last five years, running campus recreation and intermural programs for students, as well as Trent’s summer sport camp. All the experience and knowledge she gained over the years opened a well-defined pathway towards her newest role at Trent, as the head of the college.
She looked at the current opportunity as having a combination of everything that she has done at Trent so far. In this job description, a lot of the pieces such as connecting with the faculty and programming, had been a big part of every role that she has had here. Providing programming for students at lots of different levels, working with students, leading student teams in the office, helping the cabinet, and also having a college advisory team, was something that she is already good at. The job really talked to her, making it hard for her not to take the position as much as she enjoyed her former job.
Now, as you walk through the Champlain College Head door, you will be greeted by a smile and energy that will instantly put you at ease to talk about anything, and a feeling of optimism that there will be an answer in that room, no matter what. Sedge is completely easy to talk to, and a very good listener who can easily empower and embrace students.
She enjoys the day-to-day opportunity and experience of her new position. Everyday is a new adventure with hardly five minutes to herself. It’s a revolving door through which students with different needs come in, and different things happening at the same time.
She hopes to make Champlain a place where students can call it their home while here at Trent, and also get the off-campus and upper year students more involved.
Her goal is to make sure that when students come back years later, they are able to say that this was their home, “where I was my supported and made my best friends, got all the inspirations for the things that I am doing in my life now” and be able to encourage students to seize all of the opportunities they have in front of them and make it possible for them to be engaged and connected.
The motivation she generates to multitask is from the look on the students’ faces after being able to help them. To interact, see and discover the potential and talents of students reenergizes her to perform her best.
She hopes that she is able to inspire Champlain students to be engaged in their college and be a contributing member of this family; what it means to be here at Trent University but also a part of Champlain College.
“I am really here to serve the students, support them, and make their university experience the best that can be,” says Sedge.