First, I would like to acknowledge that we at Vancouver Community College (VCC) work, learn, and live on the unceded and traditional territories of the Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations who have been stewards of this land since time immemorial.
As president, I have the great honour to welcome back all our students, faculty, and staff returning from summer holidays, and to warmly greet the new students joining us at VCC this term.
Earlier this spring, our college community connected, changed, and adjusted in many ways to the “new normal” of life during a pandemic, including how we deliver our programs and support our students, and where we do our work.
While this September will be very different than the last, I know that together we will continue to rise to challenges and opportunities as we have these past months.
I am proud that we will be providing the critical skills, quality education, and responsive support that our students count on to reach their career goals, and in doing so, contribute to the wellbeing of their families and communities. In our renewed commitment to student success, we will keep discovering new ways to define and deliver experiential learning for the thousands of our students who have chosen VCC.
I often think of VCC as a remarkable tree with our roots in the community. This pandemic may have shaken our branches, but our roots have grown deeper than ever, and our connections have strengthened, allowing us to contribute in ever more meaningful ways.
At the outset of COVID-19, VCC donated 60,000 pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to local health care providers. These materials came from departments across the college, including our dental, esthetics and makeup, hairstyling, health, science, jewellery, and auto collision programs. In all, we collected 55,000 gloves and 5,000 masks, sanitizers, gowns, viral swabs, and other cleaning supplies to support Vancouver Coastal Health frontline workers, many of whom are VCC alumni.
As regular food distribution halted for our neighbours in the Downtown Eastside due to the pandemic, VCC immediately answered the City of Vancouver’s call for help by opening our Downtown kitchens as a meal-prep and distribution hub. I am extremely proud of our staff who worked very quickly to orchestrate a meal and food delivery program that involved the creation of 6,000 nutritious meals each week.
Today, you will see tents and health care workers in our Broadway campus parking lot. This is because VCC is collaborating with Vancouver Coastal Heath to increase COVID-19 testing sites across Vancouver.
VCC cares about our communities, and our roots in Vancouver and the region run deep and strong.
We have shown that we can do amazing work in difficult times. Thank you for your contributions every day that make our college and community better. I know that this fall and in the year ahead, we will continue to do great things together.
President and CEO
Vancouver Community College