Jean-François Roberge, the Quebec Minister of Education and Higher Education announced an investment of $5.9 M to transform Bishop’s University’s Divinity House into an Indigenous Students’ Gathering Space and Resource Centre.
Bishop’s University is proud to be located on the traditional territory of the Abenaki people. Divinity House, built in 1892, is one of the oldest and most iconic buildings on campus. However, it has been vacant since 2014, when structural damages forced its shutdown for security reasons. Following the calls to action of the 2015 Commission on Truth and Reconciliation, Bishop’s University has sought to create a dedicated space for its Indigenous students – including the Indigenous Cultural Alliance student club – and to foster the exchange of ideas and knowledge between Indigenous and non-Indigenous members of the community.
“As an indigenous student here at Bishop’s University, I am deeply grateful personally for further initiatives such as this one being put forward for the Indigenous students and community, and I know my feelings are shared by many of my peers,” declared Shawna Chatterton-Jerome, co-Lead of Bishop’s Indigenous Cultural Alliance and Turtle Island intern.
“Our hope is that this Indigenous Students’ Gathering Space and Resource Centre will be a place of discussion, learning and sharing for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous members of our community to help foster reconciliation, healing and understanding” said Bishop’s University’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor Michael Goldbloom, C.M.
The Indigenous Gathering Space and Resource Centre will help ensure Bishop’s University’s Indigenous students have the most adequate resources available in their journey towards academic excellence. It illustrates Bishop’s University’s deep commitment to seeing them succeed and reach their full potential.
The Indigenous Gathering Space and Resource Centre will feature spaces for seminars and resource centres, and classrooms and offices for faculty and staff. It will also feature apartments for visiting elders and academics, as well as areas for rest and quiet recreation and other resources.
In addition to the Quebec Government’s $5.9 M investment, Bishop’s University has also committed to raising $1M in private donations towards project completion. To date, about $100,000 has been raised to that end.
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