The start of this new semester has been busy, full of events, exciting and no doubt with a touch of nervousness for some. Learners are filling the halls of our campuses in numbers not seen since the pandemic began and face-to-face events are again a reality. Though the past two years have brought many ups and downs, I am beyond thrilled to see that the Algonquin College community has emerged stronger than ever.
We are just a few weeks into the Fall 2022 semester and already have much to be proud of. In late August, the Ottawa, Perth, Pembroke and AC Online campuses unveiled beautiful new murals, titled “Stronger Together,” designed with themes of diversity, inclusion and equity. On September 15, the Perth Campus celebrated the 10-year anniversary of its new main building with a concert and a donor recognition event, and the Pembroke Campus will celebrate its own 10-year event of their new waterfront campus on October 28. Fall Convocation, set for October 26, will see hundreds of graduates cross the stage to receive recognition of the culmination of all their hard work in the form of a certificate, diploma or degree.
In addition to these moments of pride and recognition, we will also take the time for periods of reflection and understanding. The recent tragic and senseless loss of classmate Savanna Pikuyak has been a moment of sorrow for many. Observance of the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation on September 30 will see the unveiling of a new monument dedicated to those who suffered from the residential school system. Additionally, Indigenous leaders and knowledge keepers will share stories at both Ottawa and Pembroke campuses. Recognizing these tragic histories and ongoing struggles is a sorrowing but essential element of our commitment to Truth, Reconciliation and Indigenization.
These events and those that will follow are all a part of what makes the College such an inclusive, caring and vibrant community. In the months to come, I look forward to seeing our learners grow and develop in both their studies and as people, learning from one another and laying a foundation that will help them achieve their dreams.
For new learners — and many returning — this semester may be the first real exposure to our wonderful campuses and all they have to offer. There is a genuine energy in the air, as if we have all woken from a long rest to look at things with refreshed eyes. I urge our learners to take advantage of this moment by exploring your new environments, be it by joining one of the College’s various clubs, volunteering, working out at the new Jack Doyle Athletics and Recreation Centre (ARC), getting a job on campus or simply taking the time to make some new friends. There are meaningful opportunities out there to help you engage with and embrace your time as a part of the College community.
What’s more, please always remember that, throughout your Algonquin College journey, there are a multitude of resources available to support you as you pursue your goals. We have resources to assist you in your studies, career seeking, mental health and health and wellness, as well as specific supports available for new students, accessible learning and Indigenous learners.
In addition to these supports and resources, don’t forget to have some fun now that you’re spending time on campus. Learners in Ottawa can visit the Algonquin Commons Theatre, go rock climbing at the ARC, enjoy a delicious meal at Restaurant International, get creative at our MakerSpace, cheer on the Algonquin Wolves or get pampered at the Salon, Spa and Boutique, among many other fun activities that the city has to offer. The Algonquin Students’ Association is also active in bringing exciting opportunities to our Perth and Pembroke campuses, as well.
It brings a smile to my face when I think about the coming year and all the opportunities available to our learners. Serving as President and CEO of Algonquin College is one of my greatest prides, and having the opportunity to again see hallways full of eager learners and employees has been something I have looked forward to for some time. Though the world has changed quite a bit in the past few years, I am confident that the College and its learners are ready to make a difference; to create, innovate and improve wherever they go. Best of luck with your studies this term.
President and CEO