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.
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