By: Srijani Datta, Assistant News Editor
On June 11, Simon Fraser University (SFU), the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), and Vancouver Island University (VIU) committed to establish the B.C. Collaborative for Social Infrastructure. The initiative originated from a roundtable hosted by SFU and McConnell in 2017. The roundtable was attended by presidents of universities and foundation representatives from all over Canada.
The collaborative project is stated to help the institutions involved make palpable and sustainable community impact.
UNBC President Daniel Weeks said, “Each institution will bring its unique knowledge and resources to the discussion and by working together, continue to bring the University mindset of problem solving outside our walls and into the communities we are proud to serve.”
The initiative is supported by the McConnell Family Foundation.The foundation has previously funded Universities Canada to help them establish a nationwide platform for knowledge on social infrastructure development open to different Universities.
SFU president Andrew Petter stated that “Canada’s public post-secondary institutions have a huge opportunity, and I believe our responsibility is to increase the contributions we make to the communities we serve.”
The partner institutes will focus on specific action areas which are reported to include “green and sustainable campus and community building, Indigenous entrepreneurship and social finance, social procurement, and library outreach and community scholar programs.”
Kathy Kinloch, President of BCIT said, “BCIT and our educational partners play a pivotal role in cultivating the talent and applied solutions that will drive our economy, green our planet, and enhance quality of life within our communities.”
The four institutions are set to collaborate on practices and policies that would enable them to identify how initiatives can be increased and enhanced. The collaboration is also aimed at encouraging progress. The institutions further plan to come up with a set of practices that can be later offered to post-secondary institutions across Canada.
“This project will enable SFU and our partners to share best practices and to test some of the many instruments we can leverage to build social infrastructure,” said Petter.