The University of the Fraser Valley recently received a helping hand in its bid to build stronger connections in the community.
On Monday afternoon, a representative from the RBC Foundation presented UFV with a donation of $12,000 at the Abbotsford campus.
The money will support the development of the major project component within the new UFV Master of Social Work (MSW) program. The MSW is UFV’s second master’s degree (the other is in Criminal Justice). The donation also helped sponsor the recent two-day visit of Cree writer Tomson Highway.
“Anything that enables us to provide more learning opportunities for our students, and for our students to give back while they are studying or after graduation, is instrumental in making a difference in the community,” said UFV VP academic Eric Davis. “And we can’t create those opportunities without partnerships.”
The affiliation between UFV and RBC was highlighted by Bev Poole, RBC Royal Bank senior account manager.
“We’ve got a fabulous relationship with UFV, and we have for a number of years,” said Poole. “We’re honoured to be partners and to be able to help the students.”
The donation is being shared between the two initiatives.
A total of $10,000 will be allocated to the MSW program, which was launched by the university in January 2011, and was immediately fully subscribed.
During their studies, students complete a major project where they undergo a practical work experience in the community.
However, it is in critical need of funding.
The focus of the applied project will encompass the services that impact local regions, in areas such as health, child welfare, women affected by violence, Aboriginal families, and mental health.
The hands-on knowledge of the challenges and opportunities faced by each group that the student gain through their practical experience will allow them to raise public awareness and provide a catalyst for change.
The remainder of the donation helped fund the visit of playwright Tomson Highway.
While only $1,500 was requested, $2,000 was provided.
The Canadian Aboriginal playwright attended the Chilliwack campus on Sunday, Oct. 23 for a staged reading of excerpts from his play The Rez Sisters.
On Monday, Oct. 24 the internationally renowned novelist and cabaret artist spoke to a room of students, staff and faculty.
Highway’s presence on campus has spawned further opportunities for learning, dialogue, and inner healing.
In the coming year, his texts will be taught as part of the curriculum in indigenous writing, literature, and theatre classes.
Benefits to the Aboriginal community from a visit of a high-profile Aboriginal writer include encouragement to high school students and their families in seeing the value and benefit of post-secondary education in an environment like UFV, which values and presents the Aboriginal culture in teaching and support services.