People shared ideas at the first of a series of town halls being hosted by Thompson Rivers University’s strategic priorities advisory committee in Williams Lake last Friday.
“We deliberately hosted our first town hall in Williams Lake,” said TRU’s associate vice-president of marketing and communications Lucille Gnanasihamany.
“In the interest of diversity, we wanted to say we embrace our regional centres, Williams Lake being one of them.”
Participants jotted down ideas at stations around the room, responded to suggestions from others, and shared in a large group.
Some of the suggestions from the floor included more programming, diversity of students and knowledge of technology. If TRU is going to offer distance education it’s important for students and faculty to be able to work well together through the Internet, one person suggested.
Williams Lake city councillor Laurie Walters said she likes what’s happening as far as growth of the university goes and connecting the community with the university is crucial to keep that growth continuing.
“Having the youth stay in our community longer and having that energy of youth being resurgent in the community will help Williams Lake grown in so many ways,” Walters added.
TRU’s president Alan Shaver said the university is trying to offer something for everyone and it’s important to determine what are the most important programs to offer for each community.
Technology makes it possible for campuses to link up with state-of-the art facilities at other campuses, Shaver added.
Sharon Taylor works with immigrants who arrive in Canada, often with univeristy degrees, but need to gain English language skills.
“The university no longer offers those bridging language courses,” Taylor said.
Dr. Ray Sanders, executive director of Community U and Williams Lake Campus, said he was pleased Williams Lake was the first location for the town hall meeting.
“I always enjoy seeing the strong support for our campus and the community,” Sanders said, “We had a great turnout and are pleased that so many braved the inclement weather to attend.”
The next steps are to continue to host a series of town hall meetings throughout the TRU region, continue to receive input through a variety of media, consolidate the input and begin to move forward on making recommendations, Sanders explained.
Dr. Robert J. Higgins Assistant Professor sits on the committee from Williams Lake. The committee is comprised of 10 students, 10 faculty and 10 community members.
“Considering we held the meeting at 9 a.m. on a day when even staff and faculty at TRU were not sure they would be able to get to work because of the heavy snow, it was a huge success,” Higgins said. “We had around 37 people in attendance with diverse interests and active feedback.”