UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 10 | Aug.
1 , 2002
A Report On UBC's Community Connections
By Brian Lin
UBC's community connections are more numerous than most people
realize. This issue of UBC Reports examines some of these connections.
Making Community Service Learning an integral component of UBC
research and education is at the heart of Sid Katz's vision for
UBC's various community initiatives.
Used extensively in the U.S., Community Service Learning incorporates
real-life experience in the community with academic course work
and critical reflection. Now UBC is at the forefront of adopting this
model to Canada's learning environment.
"The concept of Community Service Learning fits right in with
Trek 2000's vision for Community," explains Katz, executive
director of Community Affairs. "It talks about service, and
the involvement of the university in the community."
Katz is currently developing an overall strategy to forge a much
stronger relationship between UBC and the rest of British Columbia.
"Over the years, universities have isolated themselves in
many ways," says Katz. "What we're suggesting is more
of a coming together between the community and the university, while
keeping in mind what UBC stands for, and that's the pursuit of knowledge
Existing initiatives such as the Learning Exchange outreach program
and the new UBC at Robson Square campus have created an undeniable
presence of UBC in the downtown core. Katz says the overall community
strategy includes UBC's bond with the community through the
development of the Finning campus on Great Northern Way with BCIT,
Emily Carr and SFU, the creation of a University Town at UBC, renewed
commitment to working with First Nations and a university-wide Open
House in 2005.
Margo Fryer, director of the UBC Learning Exchange in the Downtown
Eastside, says community initiatives are completely concurrent with
research and learning. "For students, these initiatives allow
them to test out their ability and explore who they are in different
settings," Fryer says. "The community, in turn, benefits
from the students' sense of passion and idealism."
"The overarching idea is that both the people within the university
and the people in the community have incredible resources and
knowledge," Fryer adds. "For too long they have been seen
as separate worlds. The initiative is based on the idea that we can all be
enriched by bringing together these two worlds. The Trek 2000
Community initiatives are intended to be a bridge in this endeavour."