Partnership creates opportunities for students

NANAIMO – Ch’nook Scholars program tackles low participation rate of aboriginal students in business studies.

By Janina Stajic

Last month, 30 passionate aboriginal business students from across B.C. got together at Vancouver Island University’s Aboriginal Gathering Place, Shq’apthut, for a weekend event where they met with industry professionals, attended workshops and shared their experiences with the group.

All were part of the Ch’nook Scholars program, which was started in 2001 with the goal to address the low participation rate of aboriginal students in business programs.

Today the program supports students across B.C. with scholarship funds, workshops and opportunities to gather with other aboriginal business students.

In 2011, VIU’s Faculty of Management established a regional partnership with the Ch’nook Business Education Accord which is run out of the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Sauder School of Business. Since then, eight VIU students have been recognized as Ch’nook Scholars.

One of those students, Bonnie Bergeron, is in her fourth year of VIU’s bachelor of business administration program and was at the March event.

“Being a part of the Ch’nook Scholar program and also this weekend, has made me realize there are a lot of leadership roles available on the island for aboriginal people and I look forward to getting out there and finding them,” said Bergeron.

“This weekend has also given me hope for our future as I see all these aboriginal business students who might have different goals and dreams, but who are all so supportive of each other that I know we’re going to be successful in the work we pursue.”

The other regional partners taking part in the Ch’nook program are Thompson Rivers University (TRU), the University of Northern BC and UBC.

Carl Archie is studying business at TRU and the weekend event was the first time he’d been to Vancouver Island.

For Archie it was a chance to network with like-minded people.

“I have a hard time talking about my world, the aboriginal world, with my fellow business students at TRU, so I really appreciated the opportunity to come to this event and talk to people who can relate to that world and who are also interested in business.”

Miranda Huron, program manager for the Ch’nook Program, felt the weekend was a great success.

“Seeing the confidence of the students and hearing the inspiring stories and future plans everyone has was definitely a highlight,” said Huron.

“I also believe the students walked away inspired with fresh takes on old ideas. The group had a chance to start talking through some of the challenges they face as Aboriginal students.”

The next Ch’nook Scholar Gathering will be held at the UBC First Nations House of Learning in fall 2013.

For more information, please contact Miranda Huron at chnookprogram or visit the website at

Just Posted

(Black Press file photo)
RCMP: Air ambulance called to Whiskey Creek after crash involving 2 motorbikes

Both riders taken to hospital with serious injuries

Nanaimo author B.S. Thompson has released his debut novel, ‘The Book of Nodd.’ (Photo courtesy Nora Funk)
Nanaimo author invites readers into dangerous world of dreams in debut novel

B.S. Thompson unveils ‘The Book of Nodd’ with online launch June 20

Potters Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter present their joint exhibit ‘Dig It’ at Art 10 Gallery until the end of June. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Potters show pieces for home and garden at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter’s show ‘Dig It’ on display until end of June

Construction work continues on the City of Nanaimo’s new Fire Station No. 1 on Fitzwilliam Street. (News Bulletin file)
Next phase of borrowing approved as Nanaimo fire hall construction ongoing

City of Nanaimo CAO says construction on Fitzwilliam Street hall on schedule and budget

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop ‘appalling’ live horse export, slaughter

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Most Read