CIBC Multicultural Centre focal point of new Student Learning Commons

- October 5, 2018

Mike Bagnall, Vice President & Region Head, Commercial Bank, CIBC, President Richard Florizone, Elder Jane Abram, Millbrook First Nation, University Librarian Donna Bourne-Tyson and Dean David Gray. (Provided photo)
Mike Bagnall, Vice President & Region Head, Commercial Bank, CIBC, President Richard Florizone, Elder Jane Abram, Millbrook First Nation, University Librarian Donna Bourne-Tyson and Dean David Gray. (Provided photo)

A generous gift of $250,000 from CIBC announced last week, has established the CIBC Multicultural Centre in the Student Learning Commons on the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus.

Located in the heart of campus, the new Student Learning Commons was conceived with the idea to bring campus together, building community among students, faculty and staff — a space where everyone truly belongs.

The CIBC Multicultural Centre encompasses a hub of the National Truth and Reconciliation Centre, a prayer room and quiet space for meditation.  In the washroom adjacent to the Multicultural Centre there is an ablution station for ritual purification before prayer, a space like no other on campus.

“At CIBC, embracing inclusion and diversity is part of our DNA so we are proud to support the new Multi-Cultural Centre at Dalhousie’s Faculty of Agriculture,” said Mike Bagnall, vice-president and regional head, commercial bank, CIBC.  “We have been a long-time supporter of Dalhousie University and value our partnership in helping youth reach their full potential.”   

A special, supportive place on campus

CIBC joins Dalhousie University in recognizing that providing multicultural space establishes an environment of inclusion and is a critical part of building community and fostering relationships.

“A special place such as this would not be possible without this generous gift from our friends at CIBC,” said Dean and Campus Principal David Gray. “The CIBC Multicultural Centre is an important space for our ever-changing student body and a very powerful reminder that this is a place where everyone truly belongs.”

Dalhousie University is committed to working with community partners and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation to support and promote research that will further the dialogue related to improving the quality of life for Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Another highlight of the space includes a mural marking the history of the Mi’Kmaq which has a large presence in the Student Learning Commons and acknowledges the campus’ student diversity. The mural was created by local artist and Manager of Indigenous Students at Dal AC, Art Stevens.

Community members are invited to visit the Student Learning Commons while on campus and partake in a variety of events being held throughout October which is Mi’kmaq History Month — a time to honour and reflect on the legacy of Indigenous culture and heritage in Nova Scotia. Throughout the month, Dalhousie's Ag Campus and its community will host and participate in several events and initiatives that may be of interest.

October 11 – Lunch and Learn “Smudging” with Art Stevens, Manager of Indigenous Students CIBC Multicultural Centre, Student Learning Commons, MacRae Library.

October 18 – Dreamcatcher workshop $25 per participant max 20 RSVP 6:00pm – 9:00pm; CIBC Multicultural Centre.

October 25 – Blanket exercise – 12:00pm – 2:00 pm CIBC Multicultural Centre. The Blanket Exercise is a hands-on opportunity to learn about the history of the Indigenous-settler relationship in Canada.
The interactive exercise, first developed following the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People in 1996, explores our shared heritage — Indigenous and immigrant peoples alike — on a journey through the treaty-making, colonization and resistance that has resulted in the nation we call Canada.

October 27 – AC Open House

Mi’kmaw Community cultural exchange with Master Basket Makers of Millbrook Culture and Heritage Centre – 11:00am – 12:00pm; CIBC Multicultural Centre.

October 31 – Mi’kmaq traditional foods themed lunch $8.75 – Jenkins Hall


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