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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 and problem-solving."

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."


Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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