More and more, community engagement defines university life.
WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THE IMPACT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA, the first thing that may come to mind is the role we play in shaping our students. Without a doubt, the learning experience that our faculty and instructors provide is one that our graduates look upon with justifiable pride. What may not come to mind quite as readily, however, is the impact that the university has on the people and communities beyond our classrooms.
The role of UVic in the community, regionally, nationally and internationally, is one that I see gaining increasing importance. One needs only to consider some of the current statistics that reflect the vitality of the relationship between UVic and the communities which it serves.
For example, an amazing number of people come to the university each year to attend lectures, concerts, athletics events or merely to stroll through and enjoy the beauty of our campus. In fact, no less than 500,000 visits are made to campus each year for performances and events at facilities such as University Centre Farquhar Auditorium and the UVic Students’ Society’s Cinecenta Theatre. Phoenix Theatre productions are enjoying incredible popularity. Vikes athletics draw solid support from fans in the Capital Region and beyond. And of course our Continuing Studies programs attract thousands of life-long learners every year.
Beyond Ring Road, we have teams of community-based researchers engaged in some of the most significant issues facing society today. At the same time, the many volunteer members of the UVic Speakers Bureau—faculty members, instructors, retired professors and graduate students—share their expertise with hundreds of community groups every year.
The cover story of this issue of the Torch features one such example of the impact of the university. Each summer, Science Venture camps attract hundreds of young people, instilling in them an exciting eagerness to learn about science and engineering through hands-on exercises, fun games and quizzes. They get tremendous opportunities to visit advanced laboratories and to talk to researchers about their work. The story also shows how our researchers are leading efforts to promote science literacy through new ways of teaching science in schools.
UVic truly is a community resource and it’s a point of major emphasis as we plan the future direction of the university. Our newly re-drafted Strategic Plan (uvic.ca/strategicreview) takes to heart the importance of community engagement, both on campus and off. In the plan, we’re challenging ourselves to make those links even stronger. It’s an endeavour that will benefit the University of Victoria and the communities we serve for generations to come.
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