Aboriginal Gathering Place Ground Breaking

Thu, Mar 26, 2009


Aboriginal Gathering Place Ground Breaking
(Pictured left to right) Arvinder S. Bubber, Kwantlen Polytechnic University Chancellor; Joanne Charles, Semiahmoo First Nation; and from the Kwantlen First Nation Kevin Kelly, Drew Atkins, and Donna Robins gathered at the site of Kwantlen's new Aboriginal Gathering Place for a sod turning event to celebrate the beginning of renovations.

For immediate release

March 27, 2009

Kwantlen breaks ground for Aboriginal gathering place

(METRO VANCOUVER, B.C.) Kwantlen Polytechnic University gathered at its Surrey Campus on Thursday, March 26 for a sod turning event to celebrate the groundbreaking of Kwantlen’s Aboriginal gathering place.

In early 2008, Kwantlen received $522,000 from the Province to build a gathering place. Its purpose is to encourage Aboriginal students to enrol at Kwantlen and to enhance support services that help students complete their education.

This space will be created by renovating classroom space, a hallway and two offices. A private entrance will open onto a forest, central courtyard and pond. Renovations will include lighting and window upgrades, new finishes and furnishings as well as ceremonial art installations. An independent mechanical system will be retrofitted so smudge ceremonies can take place without affecting other areas of the building.

"The gathering place will not only provide a place for the Aboriginal students but for the whole of Kwantlen to come together," said Darlene J. Willier, First Nations education coordinator.

The construction of this gathering place reaffirms Kwantlen’s close relationship with the Aboriginal peoples—including the Kwantlen First Nations, from whom the university takes its name as well as the Katzie, Semiahmoo and Tsawwassen First Nations. Kwantlen is committed to providing access to education for Aboriginal students and helping them acquire the knowledge and skills to build successful careers.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University brings with it a tradition of providing access pathways for students with different talents and abilities, and opportunities for all who are willing to work hard to realize their goals. Key to Kwantlen’s new mandate is an enhanced capacity to integrate research and external community engagement within a learning environment that places students at the centre of all that the university does.


For more information about the Aboriginal gathering place project, contact:
Marilynne Waithman
Director, Educational Transitions & Student - Student Transitions
Tel: 604.599.2388


For more information about Kwantlen, contact:
Peter Chevrier
Director, Marketing and Communications
Tel: 604.599.2286


Kwantlen community gathers to hear the good news.

Blessing by Kwantlen First Nation.

Darlene Willier, First Nations education coordinator, thanks
guests for attending and celebrating this momentus occasion.

Craig Regan, manager of capital projects, gives history and overview
of gathering place renovations at event reception in Building C.