UNB Saint John Celebrating 50 years

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When it comes to human beings, the notion of “Turning the big 5-0” is not a pleasant one. Many people express embarrassment or nervousness over the idea of growing older. When it comes to a post-secondary institution, the feeling is quite the opposite.

The University of New Brunswick in Saint John is celebrating its 50th year in operation. Since opening its doors in 1964, the campus has changed a lot over the subsequent decades. Apart from faculty and students coming and going, we have seen new programs and facilities added to 100 Tucker Park Road in recent years. These include the Hans W. Klohns Commons and the medical school project shared with Dalhousie University.

Jen Brown, a fourth-year student and the VP of Student Affairs, believes that the university’s involvement with the city is an integral part of its success. While preparing for Orientation Week, she shared her thoughts on why the institution has lasted so long; in her opinion, the strength of the staff, students and associated alumni is proof of what the institution has accomplished. “UNB Saint John is an extremely special campus, because we are so involved with our community, and our alumni contributes greatly to our campus,” she says. “We have a strong alumni family that I can’t wait to be part of!”

Michael Crate is a fifth year Psychology student who works with the UNB Seawolves program. He shares Brown’s view that the faculty staff and students make a tight-knit community. “I believe UNBSJ has been and continues to be successful because there are people in Saint John who care about having a university in Saint John,” he says. “I’ve seen this in my five years as a current student. But I’ve also experienced it by contributing and gaining from this vibrant and caring community we call our campus.”

Kyle Roberts, a fourth year Education student and Vox editor, says he has plans in the works to mark UNB’s milestone. Although he didn’t want to go into much detail, Roberts says “As the editor of Vox, I am excited to be doing something interesting with the format in conjunction with this anniversary.” He cites UNB’s Teaching English as a Second Language program (TESL) and the College of Extended Learning as “great” and “awesome for international students.”

Jessica Buck believes there is a relationship between the faculty and staff. When asked why UNBSJ has been strong for half a century, she says, “I can only say that it is because of the strong community involvement and how close everyone is to each other. Your questions go hand in hand- without students being engaged and professors, faculty and staff genuinely caring about the campus and students- this place would not be nearly as successful. No matter where you go in the university, someone will say “Hi” to you, whether it be faculty, staff or other students.”

Over the past few years, there have been several changes at UNBSJ. Last January, the academic staff went on strike for nearly a month, but things returned to normal after a negotiation was finalized. Reflecting on the strike, Buck still retains a positive attitude towards the faculty of UNBSJ and their interest in the students’ education. “On top of all that, like I said, the professors genuinely care; they aren’t just here for a paycheck,” she says. “Although the strike happened, they still take each and every student’s education serious and treat them with the most respect.”

There are many activities planned for the fall term to commemorate the university’s fiftieth birthday. On September 11th, there will be an anniversary kick-off at 1:30 p.m. in the quad. In addition, there will be celebratory events forthcoming in October and next April. The campus has already seen some interesting events as of recently, such as Vice-President Dr. Robert MacKinnon doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. One can assume that the next activities will be just as exciting.

Emily is in her fourth year of Political Science. She loves studying and academics which follows into her research work. She's a stern black coffee drinker and is a proud Acadienne. When she's not working or doing school work, you can find Emily listening to 70s music on vinyl and watching Parks and Recreation. If you ask her about parliamentary institutions, she won't stop talking.