Dear DGES students,

Normally, this should be an exciting time. For our current students, winter semester exams are over, summer jobs typically would have been secured, and for returning students, in just a few months, you would be registering for another year at Carleton. For those of you entering fourth year, you would normally be looking forward to your final year before graduation. For our incoming first year students, official high school graduation is just around the corner, a welcomed moment after the manner in which the year has ended in isolation, and you would normally be getting excited, and perhaps a little anxious, looking over course choices for your first year at university. Instead, most of you are probably wondering what the fall semester will bring.

All of us in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, and all faculty and administration and other support staff across the university, share your concerns. The prospect of not being in a lecture hall has many of us at a loss. We are also distressed over not being able to come together as a community, especially with our new students.

I am reaching out to you all because of these uncertain times. At this time we are quite confident that most aspects of the coming academic year will be delivered on-line. I want you to know that we are already working very hard to create dynamic and engaging courses to deliver on-line for you. We are committed to producing courses that will be both engaging and meaningful to you.

However, I know that the university experience is more than the courses you take. It is about the community that you become a member of. It is about building new friendships and discovering new ideas and activities. There is nothing that can be done on-line to replace getting together with new friends, for example at Rooster’s, the undergraduate coffee house, or attending a Carleton Ravens football game, or participating in the large variety of clubs available here on campus.

We in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies are working on creating a virtual community for all of our students. We hope that by doing so, our new students will have an opportunity to meet faculty and other students, with a variety of backgrounds that will interest you. I am working with my colleagues and the leadership of CUGESA, the Carleton University Geography and Environmental Studies Students’ Association, to create a series of events and activities through which we can all assemble, at least virtually. I will be sending out more information on these events over the summer, and we will get this started soon, to make sure that you can get more answers and raise both potential problems and solutions, well before classes resume.  We will also be watching for opportunities to allow on-campus activities that will enrich your university experience, as public health guidelines make this possible.

For those not already connected with CUGESA, here are links to their online presence: and  

I encourage you all to continue on with your university plans. Yes, it will be a different experience, at least for the upcoming academic year. However, if you are uncertain about what to do, I urge you to contact any of us listed below. We are here to help you and that is something we take seriously, right from the day you chose to come to Carleton.

Best wishes,

Scott Mitchell
Chair, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

On behalf of all DGES faculty and staff, including:

Nika Linseman, Programs Officer
John Milton, Co-op and Practicum Coordinator
Natalie Pressburger, Departmental Administrator
Murray Richardson, Geomatics and Physical Geography Program Administrator
Karen Tucker, Undergraduate Administrator
Jill Wigle, Environmental Studies and Human/Urban Geography Program Administrator