NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C.
(Feb. 1, 2013)--Capilano University marked the official opening of its new
Aboriginal Student Centre with a ceremony held today featuring Coast Salish
traditions and performers.
The goal of the new facility is to
enhance the infrastructure of support for First Nations learners, ultimately
improving the participation and success rates of students attending Capilano
University in North Vancouver, Squamish and on the Sunshine Coast.
“This facility supports our mission to create a supportive,
respectful and friendly environment that reflects the culture and traditions of
our Aboriginal learners,” said Dr. Kris Bulcroft, President and Vice-Chancellor
of Capilano University who often participates in the cultural and learning
events taking place in Kéxwusm-áyakn
“We have been able to build a ‘home away from home’ where students’
educational, spiritual and cultural needs are met, allowing them to achieve
academic success and maximize their potential to be agents of change in their
communities, and beyond.”
Kéxwusm-áyakn—the name given to the student centre by the
Nation—means a place to meet in their traditional language. Kéxwusm-áyakn features computer work stations
with Internet access, a lounge area with video screens, and a kitchenette, providing a comfortable space where students can gather
to study, work together on projects and share meals.
“By providing funding for this Aboriginal Student Centre,
our government is helping to ensure students have a supportive environment that
will help them to do well in their studies, and develop the skills they need to
be successful in British Columbia’s workforce,” said John Yap, Minister of
Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology.
The student centre is also home to
the offices of the university’s First Nations StudentServices team who serve as advocates for Aboriginal learners, providing
consultation on course selection and registration, and a variety of other
support for students to achieve educational success.
gathering place dedicated to Aboriginal students helps promote inclusion and a
sense of identity which is necessary to build both capacity and capability,” said
First Nation student advisor David Kirk who is a member of the Stó:lō
Nation. “Kéxwusm-áyakn provides a
safe, supportive and positive environment which is especially important for
students who are away from their band homes for the first time.”
Additional guidance and mentorship
is provided by the members of Kéxwusm-áyakn’s Elders-in-Residence program who
engage students by sharing their knowledge and Aboriginal teachings.
Since Capilano University opened
more than 40 years ago, the number of Aboriginal students attending has
increased, particularly over the past six years which have seen a 15 per cent
increase overall. More than 300 Aboriginal students, representing a broad
cross-section of First Nations from across Canada, including Métis and Inuit,
are enrolled for the 2012/2013 semester in all faculties and programs.
The student success rate—the completion
of a program or degree—for Aboriginal students has also increased each year
since 2005, with a 45 per cent increase overall.
Kéxwusm-áyakn was designed by
Alfred Waugh, partner in FormlineArchitecture + Urbanism. The award-winning architect—perhaps best known for
designing the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler—is
one of the few professionally registered Status Indian architects in Canada. Of
Chipewyan heritage, Waugh, who is based on the North Shore, also designed two
adjacent outdoor pavilions that will be used for ceremonies and educational
Capilano University is a
learner-centred university that serves the communities of the Lower Mainland,
Howe Sound, and the Sunshine Coast through campuses in North Vancouver,
Squamish and Sechelt. Enrolment totals 7,500 students in credit programs each
term with an additional 7,000 people taking non-credit courses annually.
Capilano offers a complete range of preparatory courses, university-level arts
and science courses, business and management studies, creative and applied arts
programs, health and human services programs, plus a range of services in
support of student learning and success. Credentials awarded include bachelor
degrees, associate degrees, post-baccalaureate diplomas, advanced diplomas,
diplomas, certificates and statements of completion. More information can be found
Visit the B.C. Government Newsroom.
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