Now that we are once again in full swing, I wanted to take the time to welcome everyone back for the Spring Semester and address a few issues that have arisen since my last Open Mike column prior to Christmas.
One of the most contentious issues that has come to the forefront in the last few months is the prospect of oil and gas drilling within the boundaries of the city of Lethbridge, and more specifically, on the city’s west side.
Just last week I had the opportunity to sit down with our local MLA, Greg Weadick, to share our mutual concerns over the proposed drilling plans. At this point, we are working, as are many of you, to fully understand the risk and safety implications of this activity and how it may affect not only our campus, but our community as well. We have great concern for the safety of our students who live in off-campus housing, for example. It is also troublesome to think of how the proposed drilling activity may impact the University’s ability to recruit and retain faculty, staff and students. One of the U of L’s great advantages is the positive quality of life that Lethbridge affords people and it is concerning to see this potentially jeopardized.
As this debate continues to evolve, the University will do its part to advocate for the best interests of our faculty, staff and students.
We speak often of community and its many meanings here on campus because so much of what we do has a community focus, both internally and externally.
A good example of this is the renewal of the Life Bus campaign and the University’s partnership with the local chapter of Canadian Blood Services (CBS). This is the third year that the U of L has joined forces with CBS and after shattering the modest donation goals we set out for our community the first two years of this relationship, we are seeking 400 total blood donations in 2014. Please contact Patti Leeb at email@example.com or at 403-329-5182 to sign up for this very worthwhile program.
Another great example of the University’s community spirit is the now annual Play Day activity that will be held on Family Day (Monday, Feb. 17).
This is also the third incarnation of Play Day on campus and I can’t understate how well received this initiative has been from the southern Alberta community. The opportunity to invite so many people to experience our campus, if even just for a few hours of play, is invaluable and I thank all those who have assisted as volunteers to help make this event such a success.
I encourage volunteers to sign up by contacting Kali McKay (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that we can once again put our best foot forward and offer southern Alberta families a wonderful day of play, and of course we hope many of you bring your families out to play as well.
In the next few weeks, we have two important events that will continue to help shape the future of our institution.
I am looking forward to the opportunity to sit down with our new Minister of Innovation and Advanced Education, Dave Hancock, as we discuss the priorities of the University of Lethbridge and the importance of continuing to appropriately resource higher education in the province of Alberta.
I am also looking forward to introducing the University’s new Strategic Plan on Wednesday, Feb. 12. I encourage everyone to come out to the launch event to share in our excitement as we unveil the plan that will help set the course for the University over the next five years. Your valued input throughout the strategic planning process has given us a clear indication of what we value as Alberta’s Destination University and where our successes can be best achieved moving ahead.
I hope to see you at this event and don’t forget to take some time to come out and play on Feb. 17.