Opinion Column

Rising profile of Algonquin's Waterfront Campus in Pembroke

Jamie Bramburger

By Jamie Bramburger, Special to The Daily Observer

Algonquin College's Waterfront Campus in Pembroke, Ont.

Algonquin College's Waterfront Campus in Pembroke, Ont.

Algonquin College's Waterfront Campus is quickly gaining a national profile. In the past year, the new building has played host to a national post-secondary conference, has been the backdrop for Rex Murphy's Cross Country Checkup program on CBC Radio and its faculty and students have been called upon to participate in projects and presentations that have stretched far beyond the walls of the campus.

The CBC estimates more than 650,000 Canadians listened in to last week's Cross Country Checkup which tackled the question of whether young people are getting the post-secondary education they need. Throughout the program, students studying at the Waterfront Campus shared their stories about their post-secondary journey, many of them having already studied at university before enrolling in college.

Having Rex Murphy host his live radio call-in show at the campus was a coup and provided an excellent platform to promote college education to a national audience, specifically the unique programs that are offered at the Waterfront Campus. The students interviewed on the show talked positively about their learning experience and were optimistic they were on the right track to fulfill their career goals.

Last spring, the campus was sharing its best practices with other academic leaders from small colleges when it hosted the Association of Canadian Community College's Rural Campus Symposium, as part of the much larger national conference in Ottawa. Small campuses are often thought to be leaders in student success and the staff and faculty at the Waterfront Campus have earned a reputation for implementing many initiatives that help students achieve academic success.

The unique programming offered at the campus has also attracted various media to reach out to the college to access faculty who are subject-matter experts in their field. A great example is the CBC's Marketplace taking Outdoor Adventure co-ordinator Jeff Jackson to Florida and British Columbia to comment on its investigation of adventure tourism operators and their safety practices. Jackson is considered one of Canada's top risk management experts.

Teachers, administrators, staff and students at the campus are also telling the Algonquin College story around the world through both their professional and personal experiences. Each year faculty members take a group of students to Costa Rica to teach a tropical rainforest course and this summer a group of Nursing students is planning a humanitarian mission to Guatemala.

There are also the stories of personal perseverance such as Business, Technology and Outdoor Training chairman Murray Kyte, who recently completed a 90-kilometre cross-country ski race in Sweden or Outdoor Adventure Technician Cam Dube who fought biting cold temperatures to complete a more than 150-kilometre winter biking competition in frigid Minnesota.

For the second year in a row, Environmental Technician co-ordinator Sarah Hall will swim across the Northumberland Straight linking New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island to raise money for a recreational facility that supports critically-ill children.

All of these connections that are being made are shining a spotlight on the Algonquin College Waterfront Campus and the great things that are happening there, including the people that are helping build an excellent reputation for the campus within Canada's higher education system.

Jamie Bramburger is the manager of community and student affairs at Algonquin College's Waterfront Campus in Pembroke. Jamie can be reached at brambuj@algonquincollege.com

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