Student’s Guide to Cap
// Samantha Thompson, Editor-in-Chief

Well, here we are. It’s September, which means that we’ve had to say goodbye to our summers and head to North Vancouver to hit the books. Don’t worry though – Capilano University has worked hard to become something of a small sustainable town: You can get food, books, healthcare, and a host of other services without leaving the safety and comfort of our campus. We’ve waded through the excessive amount of information available and picked our favourite things on campus that we think you, too, should know about.

In advance, you’re welcome.

Textbooks are expensive. For some reason, many students choose to purchase their books from the on-campus bookstore which, although it provides convenience, is the most expensive place to buy your books. There are several places, both on and off-campus, that provide cheaper alternatives where the primary purpose is to sell books, not make a profit off of them.

The Capilano Students’ Union holds a used book sale and book consignment for the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters. If you sell your used textbooks through them, you will get 60% of their retail price paid back to you. The CSU’s booksale is useful because they will take your textbooks, regardless of condition, as long as it is being used by a course in the current term. They sell textbooks at 70% of the bookstore’s new condition books. Last year the CSU decided they wanted to make their booksale more interesting so they were even showing Planet Earth and giving out chocolate. Cheap(ish) books and chocolate sounds like a pretty great time to me.

The Capilano bookstore sometimes is the only place you can get certain textbooks. While you’re there, you may as well get a Capilano University notebook, mug, or sweatshirt - something luxurious to get you through finals in a couple of months. The benefit of selling your books through the bookstore is that they will give you the money right away. If you buy your books from the bookstore, you also have the opportunity to get one of the reusable Capilano bags, which everyone is using these days.

Online stores are also a good place to look for books. Sometimes you can get them really inexpensively, because the people who are selling their books really just want to get rid of them. Places like are your standard marketplace, but websites like LocazU connect you directly with other students at Capilano who are selling books. LocazU is a new service, but as it becomes more popular it has the potential to be very useful – they’ve even developed a free App that allows you to scan the UPC on the back of a book and find a seller. Other online sites include places like Better World Books, which donates a portion of the book sale to one of the many charities that they support.

Renting your textbooks is a relatively new concept, but is worth a try. You pay a fraction of what it would cost to buy the textbook and rent it for the semester. At the end of the semester, you return it and move on with your life. The downside to this is that you make no money off your books at the end of the semester, and, as it is a new development in the textbook world, their book selection isn’t always the best. Furthermore, many of the rental companies have yet to ship books up to Canada.


Believe it or not, the university offers many services that are just sitting around, waiting for people to use them. The unfortunate thing is that too often we don’t find out about them until the end of our time at the school, and then the good opportunities have been wasted. These places are practically guaranteed to help you succeed in your classes. The best part is that most of them are located in Birch which makes them really easy to find.

The Writing Centre is actually not located in Birch. In fact, it’s located on the fourth floor of Fir, which is why it takes a solid year for students to start using it, despite professors pushing students to go to the writing centre for the first several weeks of school. “It’s too far,” we complain. “Who wants to climb up a million stairs just to do better on a paper?”

Here’s the good news: there’s an elevator. And you really will do better on your assignments. There are information sheets about Works Cited pages and doing research, as well as computers and a printer that are generally more available than the ones in the library. Best of all, there are faculty up there all the time ready to read your writing and give you pointers about how to make your assignment better. They also have this random vending machine up there that gives you “students’ and visiting writers’ chapbooks” for a nickel. Apparently a chapbook is a “small pamphlet containing tales, ballads, or tracts, sold by peddlers.” I had to look it up, but now it sounds pretty cool.

The Counselling Department is a resource that almost all of us will need to use during our time at Capilano. University is stressful, and life is hard. Counselling normally costs money, but at the counselling department, it is free. They also provide learning support by offering disability services, First Nations services, and learning skills development. The counsellors can even help you with potential grade appeals. Go talk to them. They like to listen! You can call them at 604.984.1744 to book an appointment, or walk right into their office in BR267.

Harassment and Conflict Resolution is also available at Capilano. Keiron Simons is our conflict resolution advisor, and his picture on the university’s website makes him look like a very nice person to talk to. You can talk to him if you have been the target of harassment, have been accused of harassing someone, or if you’re having difficulties with any member of the university community.

Academic Advising is the place where you can go to ask questions about your future. Although they are not psychic fortune-tellers, these people are friendly, and will meet with you to discuss transferring credits, which courses you should register for, and to help you with general education planning. They’re located in BR238.

The University Administration is located on the fourth floor of Birch. Their offices are all really fancy and decorated with wood, and some of them might even want to talk to you. If you really want to talk to them about something, however, you should probably book an appointment. Sometimes Kris Bulcroft, the University president, leaves the fourth floor to meet real-life students. Last year the Courier reported that she might be a leprechaun, but unfortunately we haven’t been able to prove or disprove this theory.

Health Services and Sports Medicine Clinic is exactly what it sounds like. If you head over there on Tuesdays and Thursdays, general medical services are available to you, for free! The centre also provides physiotherapy and massage therapy, although probably not for free. They have lots of pamphlets on drugs and diseases that you can take as well.

The Math Learning Centre is a hidden room in Birch (BR289) that could be very useful for those of us being forced to take a math requirement even though we strongly believe that mathematics is some sort of cruel, cruel joke (insert math lover here saying something along the lines of “math is not a joke! It is a beautiful form of art! It makes sense because there’s only ever one answer!”). Anyway, you can go here for math help. Also there is space to study, as well as a video room where you can watch videos about…math.

University Workshops happen fairly frequently, but almost nobody goes to them. They’re free, and they happen over lunch. Officially entitled “Student Success Workshops”, they cover everything from textbook reading and stress management to healthy relationships. The full calendar of workshops is available on the university website.

The Child Care Centre is a fun place that offers child care for infants, toddlers, and 3-5 year olds. The centre is the reason that you will often see cute little kids being happy and wandering around campus. If you have kids yourself, you can apply for childcare online, as the centre gives priority to CapU students.


Let’s face it – cafeteria food has a reputation for being very hit or miss. In Capilano’s cafeteria, for example, their breakfasts are amazing. The biggest issue with the cafe, though, are their outrageous prices. There are some alternatives, though unfortunately not too many because Aramark is the University’s official food service provider on campus, and they have the exclusivity contract to prove it.

Superstore is a short jaunt down the hill, and carries food typical of your average grocery store. The food that can be bought is generally better for you, cheaper, and offers you greater variety.

The Random Corner Store in the Bush is a little harder to find. You have to walk around the back of Seymour’s pub, and it’s nestled in amongst the housing complexes. I’ve never been here but I hear it has quite the variety of quick snack food.
Seymour’s Pub is not our “almost on-campus” pub. Their food is expensive, as are their drinks. Although they provide some sort of discount to Capilano students, the discount makes it so that their prices are only a little bit higher than somewhere in downtown Vancouver. Basically, go here if you have so much money you’d throw it away.


The Sportsplex obviously provides the best way to stay fit on campus. Although there are sports teams that you can try out for, the Sportsplex also offers a number of programs that are inexpensive or free. This Fall, they’re offering Hatha Yoga ($5/drop-in), ultimate frisbee ($20/semester or $2/drop-in), indoor soccer (free), therapeutic yoga ($190/semester), badminton and table tennis (free), drop-in basketball (free), Karate ($20/semester), and the use of the weight room. Your other, less-strenuous alternative is to attend one of the Capilano Blues’ games.

The Capilano Grind is the staircase that takes you from the basement of Fir right up to the top floor. Called the Capilano Grind because of its steep nature, students sometimes run up and down it for exercise, or climb up to the top because they need to talk to a professor about a paper they forgot to write.

Hills are everywhere on Capilano’s campus. If you really want to get your exercise, you should run up and down them a bunch of times, just for fun.


Everyone needs their personal space, even on campus. There are several secluded areas that make ideal spots for napping, studying, making out, or whatever else you choose to use them for. I will provide these locations to you, but with one disclaimer: please do not have sex on any of the couches. The CSU recently had to pay more than $2500 to have their couches cleaned, and I’m pretty sure the couches were that dirty in the first place because too many dirty people were having sex on them. So stop.

The Writing Centre is mostly useful for studying. There are computers and tables, as well as windows which make you feel less like you are in a jail. As it is on the top floor of Fir, the writing centre also receives any sunlight bestowed upon Cap first.

The Language Lab is filled with people learning languages. Again, it is mostly useful as a good place to study, but I also hear that you can play Monopoly in different languages with your other language-studying friends. Donnez-moi l’argent!

The Library is useful on several levels. Upstairs, there are a million study cubicles for you to study in, as well as little private rooms that you can book to use when you have to work on the dreaded group projects. Downstairs, there are more secluded study areas, as well as a place with cushioned benches which make good temporary beds. Be forewarned, however – as the library is the most logical place to go for everything, it is always busy with people who can’t think of anywhere else to go.

The CSU, in addition to providing a lounge filled with couches and tables, also has an office that can provide you with photocopying, printing, popcorn, movie passes, condoms, stationary supplies and other useful things that will help you study – all for a nominal fee. Their couches are the comfiest on campus, but too often have PDA-loving couples sleeping entangled in each other’s arms. It is an image that sometimes makes it very difficult to fall asleep. The only downside to the lounge is that it is often taken over by loud theatre students practising for their next assignment – if you can tune that out, you can actually get a lot of work done.

The Trees are everywhere, and provide seclusion where there would not normally be any. In fact, there’s a hole in a bush between Fir and Cedar, and if you’re lucky enough to find it (not many people can) you will be privy to many art installations as well as some one on one time with Capilano’s greatest nature.

The Treehouse is another place provided to you by the CSU. Located in the Library Building, it often is the home to a variety of student meetings. When it isn’t, though, it is a great place to be alone, or alone with somebody else – the windows are high above the benches that line its walls, so you can finally get some well-deserved privacy.

The Staircase With No Purpose is one of Capilano’s greatest mysteries. Found to the left of the library entrance, the staircase goes up one level higher than there are actual floors. As a result, it makes the perfect studying spot – it’s secluded, and people generally won’t bother you if you were there first.


Going to university is guaranteed to make you very low on money. Luckily, there are places on campus that you can make/take some of that money that you paid out in September back for your own bank account.
Student Employment Services has a frequently updated list of employers seeking employees, as well as non-profits looking for volunteers. The list is on their website, but they also have an office in BR270 where you can talk to an advisor about job opportunities.

The Capilano Courier is the autonomous student newspaper on campus. You are, in fact, reading it right now (you thought I was going to write an entire article about Capilano and not promote our own paper? Ha.). The Courier pays everyone who contributes to it – illustrators, photographers, writers, editors, columnists, and even the people who hand out our papers around campus. Arguably the easiest way to make money, you can get involved by dropping by the office in Maple 122 or by going to one of the story meetings, which happen every Tuesday at noon, also in Maple 122.

The CSU hires a number of student employees every year, who work around the CSU and man the front office, selling things like popcorn and ski passes to other students. You can also run for an elected position (such as the Queer Students’ Liaison, Women’s Liaison, Social Justice Coordinator or Educational Issues Coordinator) in the upcoming elections. All elected positions on the CSU executive are paid a minimum of $400 a month.

University Services also employ students. There are students working in the bookstore, in the library, and in the cafeteria. Getting a job with them seems pretty fun, too.


The Egg of Knowledge can be found in the library building outside the Treehouse. Are you standing there? Good. Look up. See? It’s an egg! Not just any egg! THE EGG OF KNOWLEDGE. I have no idea why this is there but it is.

The Drums of Capilano are actually buildings, made out of cement. Birch and the library building both have rounded portions that are meant to look like drums. In fact, the library was designed by the same architect who made the building down by English Bay with a tree growing out of the top. The library building also has trees hanging down from the ceiling, which is meant to represent where real trees used to be before they were cut down so that Capilano could be built.

Outdoor Art can be found all around campus. There are plenty of examples, but some of the key ones include the outdoor chess set in front of the library; the bike covered in bike locks next to Fir; and the cement toilets at the top of Fir. One of the more subtle ones, however, is the planted heart outside the top entrance of Birch. If you take a creative picture of this one and send it to I’ll give the best submission a prize or something.

There you have it: everything you need to know about Capilano. Ultimately, you should prepare yourself to complain non-stop about feeling tired, the waitlist process, transit, the weather, and the cafeteria food. Knowing that thousands of students before you have felt the same pain will make you feel significantly better as you make your way through the Fall semester.

Welcome to university.

// Samantha Thompson

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