Campaign to promote postsecondary education within Aboriginal communities

An event today—Wednesday, February 3—at the Aboriginal Education Centre will help launch the “Let’s Take Our Future Further” campaign, designed by the Council of Ontario Universities to celebrate the achievements of Aboriginal learners in the province’s universities.

“A post-secondary education is critical for the future of our communities,” says the centre’s coordinator, Russell Nahdee. “Programs like the one at Turtle Island are creating the sustenance necessary for our communities to prosper.”

As part of the campaign, COU has created the website, featuring profiles and videos from 13 role models who are studying at, or have recently graduated from, Ontario universities.

The UWindsor Aboriginal Student Ambassador and role model is Shayenna Nolan, a biology student who plans to study medicine. Nahdee calls her an obvious choice.

“We first met when she was a high school student, participating in our outreach activities like the Turtle Island summer camp,” he says. Now, in addition to her formal studies, Nolan volunteers for the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research “This gives us a chance to profile what a great student she is.”

Today’s event will run on a drop-in basis from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the centre’s space adjacent to the CAW Student Centre Commons, promising the screening of the video profiles and traditional singing and drumming.

University of Windsor president Alan Wildeman says Let’s Take Our Future Further will encourage more Aboriginal students to pursue post-secondary study.

“The future of Canada must be one in which people of First Nations can more easily pursue their education goals,” he says. “This campaign is all about shining a spotlight on Aboriginal learners who are inspiring others to succeed.”

Next week, COU will launch an online video contest asking Aboriginal learners currently enrolled in university to tell their story about how university education has taken their future further, and has also enriched the future of their communities.