President Mark Evered recently attended the UFV Hope Centre and enjoyed a morning with faculty, staff, and students at a Christmas cookie social organized by centre coordinator Michelle Vandepol.
Evered chatted with students, asking about their courses and goals and came away with a real sense of the tightly-knit community the centre has become.
As coordinator, Vandepol enjoys the “jack of all trades” challenge of providing “pretty much every UFV service” from one small office.
“There’s a really nice community feeling to our centre,” she says. “We take a grassroots approach, working in partnership with community agencies and the people of Hope to help connect students and other residents to the greater UFV community.”
Upgrading and University Preparation (UUP) instructors help students obtain their Adult Dogwood diploma (BC high school adult graduate certificate) and support students as they start on their university coursework though adult basic education courses.
Continuing Education instructors lead weekend workshops on job-related skills and have featured sessions on starting a small business, aquaponics, and writing skills.
Instructors who teach in Hope are often impressed by the small, cozy atmosphere and return again and again. Every week, instructors and students get together and provide a Hope Centre community lunch. Vandepol says the Wednesday lunches are the highlight of the week, bringing students and employees together to celebrate their efforts with a hot meal.
There is also a food share cooperative. Modeled after community freezers found in some indigenous communities, students are free to take,trade, or contribute items.
UFV student Leah Felker is a good example of the community approach paying off. After attending UFV’s 40th anniversary celebration in Hope and learning she could continue her education without having to leave her community, Leah started working on her Adult Dogwood diploma.
She is now in her second year of courses at UFV Hope and is looking forward to walking across the stage in cap and gown at this year’s UFV Convocation ceremonies.
“After graduation, I will be continuing my education to become a psychiatric nurse. It feels so amazing to be doing something for myself, although my entire household has benefited from my studies because I’m a happier person. For the first time in my life I am working towards something that gives me a deep sense of pride and accomplishment. School has become my new ‘mommy’ time and I love it!”
What students can do at the UFV Hope Centre
- Take UUP and CE courses
- Register and pay for any UFV class, regardless of campus
- Order and pay for textbooks
- Write the composition placement test
- Use the computer lab
- Order UFV library books
- Get help with Blackboard and other computer support for UFV Online classes
- Get your student campus card
- Write exams for courses from UFV or other institutions
- Buy UFV logo items
- Participate in a UFV CCR project
- Rent a room for community use.
UFV’s Hope Centre is located at 1250 7th Avenue, Hope, BC. The phone number is 604-869-9991. Centre coordinator Michelle Vandepol can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can visit the Hope Centre on the web at www.ufv.ca/hope.