Campus Life

Open Mike - February 2013, Strengthening our community bonds

It was with great pleasure that the University hosted the respective boards of the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Lethbridge to campus recently.

The tour was part of a busy morning for both boards as they first ventured to Lethbridge College to view their trade facilities and gain an appreciation for the planned Trades & Technology Renewal and Innovation Project. They then came to the U of L to see the science facilities on campus and learn about the Destination Project, the proposed science complex that would at long last bring state-of-the-art technologies to our science students and researchers and revitalize University Hall.

President Mike Mahon was pleased to welcome community business leaders to campus this past month.

We had a wonderful dialogue with both boards and it was readily apparent that they understood the need each of our institutions had for these projects, and even more importantly, how these projects would not only invigorate Lethbridge College and the University of Lethbridge but the city of Lethbridge and southern Alberta as a whole.

While the Destination Project meets a number of needs on our campus, from spurring research activities to recruiting students and faculty and transforming University Hall, the boards were quick to realize the value that the project would also have to Lethbridge.

From simply bringing more students to the city, to creating employees for new and emergent technologies, to creating incubator space for fledgling companies, the Destination Project is not just a University of Lethbridge project, but rather a community project that will see economic and cultural benefit on a number of levels.

That is why it was so important to bring the city's business leaders on campus so that they could gain an understanding of the magnitude of these projects and thereby champion their worth to the provincial government and potential donors.

I am especially thankful to former mayor Bob Tarleck for addressing the boards and remarking on the key role the Chamber of Commerce once played years ago, when it pushed the province for the establishment of a university in Lethbridge.

These are community projects and it is important that we continue to engage our community so that they see the benefit of a strong post-secondary presence in the city, and that we can count on their support to communicate that to the external world.

Along those lines, our 2nd Annual Play Day celebration, to be held on Monday, Feb. 18 (Family Day), is another way to engage the local community and show off everything we have to offer here on campus.

By opening our doors and allowing families to come in for a day of play, it on one basic level contributes to the health, wellness and quality of life in our community. But on another level, it is an opportunity for the community to learn more about the U of L, for children to be introduced to our campus and experience it in a fun way so that as they grow up, it becomes a part of their lives through further activities such as science camps, Pronghorn games, theatre events and so on.

Our success going forward will only be enhanced through community support and understanding of how integral the University of Lethbridge is to the economic and cultural vibrancy of our city.

I encourage everyone to come out to Play Day, help out as a volunteer or simply get the word out to the community that we want the city of Lethbridge to come to our campus to see what we are all about.

This story first appeared in the February 2013 edition of the Legend. For a look at the full issue in a flipbook format, follow this link.