Neptune Terminals announced its financial support for the creation of an endowment bursary for Aboriginal students
Manveen Singh, Contributor
Greta Kooy, News Editor
Photography by Tae Kim, Visual Media Specialist
Shipping company Neptune Bulk Terminals announced on Sept. 10 that they would be gifting $10,000 in matching funds towards the creation of an endowment bursary for Indigenous students studying at Capilano University. The gift was announced at CapU’s Birthday Bash.
“Neptune has been involved with CapU on a number of levels for many years”, said Claus Thornberg, the company’s newly appointed president. “First Nations are an important part of Capilano University’s history, and should be an even more important part of its future. This award is intended to provide financial support to encourage more Indigenous students to attend and graduate from Cap,” he said.
Located on the North Shore, the company is one of North America’s largest multi-product bulk shipping terminals. They have been involved with CapU for several years, providing scholarships to Business students and awards that support students enrolled in study abroad programs. Neptune Terminals also hosts tours for students in the Supply Chain Management program several times a year.
Thornberg and Neptune Terminals hope that their contribution will attract more donors. “Beyond that,” he said, “We hope that more Indigenous students will attend Capilano University, and have the support and success needed to complete their studies and graduate in the programs of their choice.”
There are currently 13 scholarships, bursaries and awards available exclusively to Indigenous students at CapU.
“They are very, very generous in their support”, said David Kirk, First Nations Advisor at CapU. “$10,000 towards Indigenous Aboriginal student bursaries is wonderful because there’s this perception out there that if you’re an Indigenous Aboriginal student that your education is paid for. And that is a big myth.”
Kirk acknowledges Neptune’s donation as a step in the right direction, “but that will still only meet a portion of the needs of our students”, he said. One of the challenges outlined by Kirk, although he noted it is a positive one, is that certain bursaries are offered only to students from particular bands or nations. This means that there are Indigenous Aboriginal students that are not able to apply for many of the awards available. Kirk is currently working with the Foundations department on getting more donors to sponsor more awards that are open to all Indigenous Aboriginal students, and sponsors an award himself on behalf of his mother’s memory.
“We’re open to working with numerous companies, but I have to be cautious about how students will think … or what would the community think. But I know Neptune has built a pretty strong community relationship with our First Nations communities.”
Thornberg, along with Neptune and its shareholder companies, Teck and Canpotex, communicate that they are committed to and value their relationships with local First Nations groups, and intend on being positive contributors to their community, environment and economy.
“Post-secondary is very expensive, and any award or bursary that’s available for not only Indigenous students but non-Indigenous students is crucial to ensuring their student success”, said Kirk.
The purpose of this endowment bursary is not only to help students in affording their tuition but acts as an initiative to other individuals, organizations and corporations to recognize their social responsibilities.
“What we need to see is, not just at our institution but all institutions, if Canada as a whole is committed to reconciliation and making things better for Indigenous people, we have to provide opportunities”, said Kirk.
This article was updated on Nov. 1. It previously stated that the bursary was announced at CapFest instead of at the CapU Birthday Bash.