Otonabee College: The College of the River

Otonabee College courtyard.

Welcome to the college of the river, the otter, and the cafeteria that serves all day breakfast! Over 2200 students are currently affiliated with Otonabee College (both those in residence and those off-campus), making it the largest college at Trent in terms of students. Most departments also find a home in or around Otonabee, including Computing and Information Systems, Sociology, School of Education, Anthropology, Archeology, Forensic Science, Psychology, and last but certainly not least, the Trent-Fleming School of Nursing.

Led this year by the incredibly intelligent and friendly Stephanie Muehlethaler, Otonabee College is Trent University’s prime example of the motto truly fitting the people that call OC their home: tempora mutantur nos et mutamur in illis (translation: the times are changing and we change with them).

Stephanie Muehlethaler began her post-secondary academic career as a Golden Hawk at Laurier University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts (Honours). Afterwards, wanting to continue her education, she ventured to the University of Connecticut, where she earned her Masters of Arts in Higher Education and Student Affairs, and also worked in the Senior Year Experience Office. Muehlethaler then worked at Franklin College in Switzerland as the Director of Residence Life, and, stopping at nothing for higher certification, she pursued her Doctorate of Education in Higher Education Leadership through a blended programme offered by the University of Calgary. After she was finished working in Europe, she moved back to Canada to work as the Director of Residence Life and the Student Experience for almost four years prior to coming to Trent for the position of Director of Colleges in February 2016 (handling all colleges on campus). She then transitioned to the Principal Role that she holds as of this year.

Otonabee hosts many events throughout the year, all of which are open to everyone, both those living on and off campus. OC is well known for OC Appreciation Week, showcasing some of the most important people in OC who keep things running, as well as celebrating everything that Otonabee is, both academically and socially. Similar to Gzowski College, Otonabee hosts a series of Community Lunches which are held about once every month and encourage the entire campus to mingle with others while enjoying free food. Another popular event is that of the Otonabee Chili Cook-Off, held every year, to which students can pay a fee and both taste the dishes and vote for which one they think is the best. There are new events happening this year, including two collaborative events with Gzowski College; one bringing famous speaker Gwynne Dyer to Trent, and another being a Mature Student Lunch (both of which are wonderful ways to meet new people around campus and to gain coping mechanisms for academic life).

When asked what she thought about Otonabee and the people that reside in it, Stephanie had this to say:

“I’d like to think of Otonabee College as a mosaic. This fascinating community made up of students, faculty, staff and alumni each with their own stories, motivations and goals. Innovative. Diverse. Inclusive. A focus on learning, growth, while being adaptable to change. The motto translated is ‘the times are changing and we change with them,’ which really resonates with students.”

In terms of goals for Otonabee College, Principal Muehlethaler hopes that she can connect more with the college and the community, creating deeper connections with students, faculty, staff, and alumni. She would also like to develop (in collaboration with others) community experiential learning opportunities that go beyond the classroom (such as a Collegiate leadership competition). Stephanie would also like to gain a deeper understanding of the complex and beautiful identity of Otonabee throughout her time as College Principal.

To learn more about Otonabee College, click here.