The Native American Students’ Lounge and Ceremonial Room have become a reality thanks in part to a $30,000 gift from ATCO Gas.
Designed to enhance the campus experience of the University’s 400-plus FNMI students, the lounge serves not only as a gathering space, but fosters a sense of community amongst the FNMI student population that is essential in achieving educational success.
“This gift demonstrates ATCO Gas’s incredible commitment to education and the FNMI community, and sets a strong example for others to follow,” says University of Lethbridge President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Mike Mahon.
“Establishing a strong and supportive community atmosphere for our FNMI students is vital to them finding success at the post-secondary level. This gift provides meaningful encouragement to these students.”
The University of Lethbridge is committed to better understanding the unique needs of FNMI students, and through the recommendations from the 2011 FNMI Report to the President, is working on a number of initiatives to help advance the University’s approach to FNMI education.
With support from valuable partners such as ATCO Gas, more students will have the opportunity to realize their post-secondary education aspirations.
“ATCO Gas is pleased to support the University of Lethbridge in promoting and celebrating Aboriginal culture,” says Bill Stephens, Senior Vice President & General Manager of ATCO Gas. “The ceremonial room and student lounge are unique resources that provide Aboriginal students with support and mentorship and encourage them to practice their customs and traditions.”
Tanya Harnett, assistant professor of Native American Studies and Acting Chair of the Department of Native American Studies, says that the importance of community support in the FNMI culture cannot be underestimated.
“It’s about creating an atmosphere where the traditions of family, culture and spirituality can exist,” says Harnett. “If we are able to give our students a sense of belonging, where they feel welcome to celebrate the history and culture they’ve grown up with, it can only add to their confidence in achieving their educational goals.”
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