Editorial: Our university lifts our city

Vancouver Island University brings not only higher education, but so much more to Nanaimo.

The university up on the hill is helping the whole region attain greater heights.

Vancouver Island University brings not only higher education, but so much more to Nanaimo. The university reflects who we are as a community, and in many ways, it leads us where we wish to go.

As VIU goes, so will go Nanaimo. We talk about how the university attracts students here, but it also keeps students here. As we provide greater education opportunities for our youths, more of them will find that they may not have to leave Vancouver Island to achieve their ambitions. It’s happening already. Malaspina University-College became Vancouver Island University and retained its trades and technical foundation, while introducing new programs and courses of study and new kinds of teaching and learning.

There are obvious benefits to post-secondary education, such as diplomas, certificates and degrees, the career options that follow and the impact on the economy of a well-educated, ready and willing workforce.

But there are also intangibles. Learning begets learning. We would hope that education opportunities in the community create a desire for lifelong learning.

And university is so much more education. It’s also about values, self-knowledge, experiences, relationships, life – on campus and in Nanaimo.

VIU brings people to the city who wouldn’t otherwise be here, creating a more cosmopolitan community. VIU facilitates friendships between First Nations and non-First Nations people that should serve as an example, and what’s more, those relationships hardly seem remarkable anymore because they are just a matter of course. It’s the type of diversity and inclusion we would hope for in the greater community.

We’re lucky to be a university town. We like the way it lifts us up and we like VIU’s view from up here.

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