NORTH VANCOUVER - Aboriginal students at Capilano University have a beautiful new space in which to learn and embrace their heritage with today's official opening of the university's Aboriginal Student Centre.
"The Province's investment in this and other gathering places shows our commitment to improving the quality of life and educational experiences of Aboriginal students," said John Yap, Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology. "Capilano University welcomes Aboriginal students in a space that celebrates their unique heritage and supports an environment for success not only in post-secondary education, but in their lives and careers."
Kéxwusm-áyakn (A Place to Meet) - the Squamish Nation name given to the Aboriginal Student Centre - provides a welcoming multi-purpose space for students to meet, study, share meals, collaborate and learn from each other and First Nations elders.
"Gathering places are an important part of the quality of life for Aboriginal students," said Naomi Yamamoto, MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale. "We know that when we support Aboriginal students in post-secondary, they are more likely to complete their studies and move on to good jobs to support themselves and their families."
Government invested $600,000 in the centre, which provides a community hub that is used by the university's First Nations Student Services department advisors, faculty, staff, students and the university's Aboriginal community. The centre is equipped with a kitchenette, computer work stations with Internet access, and lounge area with video screens.
"The Aboriginal Student Centre will help support Aboriginal students to succeed in their post-secondary education and training," said Jane Thornthwaite, MLA for North Vancouver-Seymour. "Capilano University's Aboriginal student centre is a place for Aboriginal students, elders and community members to gather and participate in cultural traditions in an educational setting."
Along with its wide-ranging curriculum, Capilano University also offers programs focused on Aboriginal learning, including an indigenous filmmaking program, a tourism management co-operative diploma program, courses in Aboriginal law, and the Squamish Nation Language and Culture certificate for teachers of Squamish language and culture.
"The Kéxwusm-áyakn student centre supports Capilano University's mission to create a supportive, respectful and friendly environment reflecting the culture and traditions of our Aboriginal learners," said Dr. Kris Bulcroft, president and vice-chancellor of Capilano University. "Thanks to the government's investment, we've been able to build a home away from home where students' educational, spiritual and cultural needs are nurtured, allowing them to realize their potential and achieve academic success. The university community looks forward to sharing in many cultural and learning events at the centre over the years to come."
The B.C. government has invested a total of $14 million to create gathering places that reflect Aboriginal culture at our public post-secondary institutions. Gathering places are designed to enhance support services for the growing number of Aboriginal students on campuses all over B.C. They promote and preserve Aboriginal culture and history and are a resource for the community and students.
Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology