CU Expo 2013 - A Canadian-led conference showcasing community-university partnerships worldwide
Please find below an initial announcement of CU Expo 2013 - a conference to be held at the Grenfell Campus of Memorial University of Newfoundland which is located in Corner Brook - showcasing community-university partnerships worldwide.
The effort to increase community-university engagement in Corner Brook is expected to receive a big boost with the hosting of a major international conference in 2013.
The hub of western Newfoundland becoming a complete university/college town has long been on the radar for post-secondary institutions and its partners. The notion has increased in effort and awareness in recent years, with studies and surveys defining what is required and desired to make that happen.
Grenfell Campus of Memorial University, in partnership with the City of Corner Brook, has successfully landed CU Expo 2013. The Canadian-led conference is designed to showcase exemplars in community-university partnerships worldwide, and together introduce ways of strengthening local communities.
Louise McGillis, chair of the local organizing committee, said the conference could better serve the mandate of Memorial University to expand its community engagement. However, the prospective benefits are two-fold, with many sectors of the community positively impacted, according to the associate university librarian at Ferriss Hodgett Library.
“There is a real sense of community in Corner Brook, but sometimes those communities are isolated from one another,” she said. “This, to me, was a real opportunity to bring different people together, in our own community — western Newfoundland, but the whole province too — to meet people doing similar things.
“It is a great idea to build our own capacity, but also to learn how other people are doing things.”
Meanwhile, she said the community engagement has already begun. After McGillis learned of the conference through a workshop she attended in St. John’s, she said she brought the idea of hosting it back to Grenfell administrators. Once it received approval, she found much support throughout the community as well.
A small committee was formed, involving various groups, and their bid to host was determined successful last week. The partnerships which need to be formed from all sectors of the community now have to be expanded to form a larger committee to prepare for the event.
In Waterloo, Ont. this year, more than 500 people participated, and the same turn out is expected in Corner Brook.
Running June 12-15, 2013, the conference will bring together individuals to network, learn and more fully participate in community-university engagement. There will be speakers, workshops, and sessions involving both learning and hands-on participation, she said.
“I think you see established partnerships through all different kinds of ways,” she said. “You are looking at a lot of people involved in a lot of different ways, so you need a lot of talent and from various aspects of the community.
“I think it is a real opportunity to bring people together and to build relationships, and a legacy of some kind, that will continue after the conference ends.”
Meanwhile, Corner Brook Mayor Neville Greeley said, beyond the economic benefits of another conference of this magnitude in the city, this expo has broader value.
“I am certainly keen that the campus here went after this conference, especially as the city was putting forward its future and its role of post-secondary institutions in the city of Corner Brook,” he said. “We see that as one of the key economic drivers as we move forward.”
The conference is open to all interested in being a delegate, and will include speakers of provincial, national, and international expertise.