Communities from around campus plan for a better CapU
Benjamin Jacobs // Contributor
Over the last 50 years, Capilano University has transformed and built a reputation for being the university of the North Shore. There are no guarantees to what the future will hold for CapU and looking ahead even five or ten years can appear daunting. However, that does not mean that the university isn’t planning for the future. Starting in the new year, a task force made up of different university community members will begin planning for Capilano’s Envisioning 2030. The initiative is a collaboration between the university and its community members to map out the future.
Capilano University president Paul Dangerfield launched this program in January 2019 as a decolonization process for the Envisioning 2030 project. “The purpose of this program is to ask, ‘what university are we?’” said Dangerfield. The initiative’s key goals are to differentiate CapU from other universities such as the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University, and elevate it to a place of imagination. CapU plans to give more opportunities to students with experience outside the traditional classroom. It hopes to deconstruct or de-colonize classrooms with work-integrated learning and look at how CapU can improve out-of-class experiences.
Of course, no plan is without its flaws. One challenge might be how the group receives and evaluates feedback. Another issue is long-term planning. This may raise questions concerning how many people will still be on board with this program and what opportunities will the future hold for the university and students. After all, for this program to succeed CapU will need to push the envelope and think outside the box. With a school of around 1000 employees and nearly 10,000 students, the biggest issue may be finding a solution to their creative vision that everyone, or at least the majority, can agree on.
While Paul Dangerfield has been busy with this program, he’s not the only one involved. Many other groups plan to contribute, such as CapU student and CSU Indigenous Students’ Liaison Tristin Greyeyes. “Cap is like parenthood. Like parenthood, we do the best we can, and when we think we got it right, there is always room for improvement,” she said. “We are connected through the students because we are a union made up of students. Capilano is made of students, so although the CSU and CapU are separate, we both have the same interest.”
Greyeyes plans to represent CapU students by giving them a voice and ensuring their needs and concerns are met. As the Indigenous Students’ Liaison, she also plans to raise issues regarding recommendations on Truth & Reconciliation as well as the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. “I want to challenge the system to be more equitable; I want CapU to take lead and be an example to other post-secondary institutions.”
In the past 50 years, CapU has had many ups and downs. With initiatives such as the task force for the Envisioning 2030 program, there is hope for a steady upward trajectory. From its infancy, there has been talk regarding Envisioning 2030’s long-term plans, and feedback from representatives from the CSU and students, staff, and alumni will help the school grow.