Have you ever thought, as you meander around the long and
intricate MUNel system, about the university’s role
in the history of the city of St. John’s and the province
of Newfoundland and Labrador. Or reflected that you are
walking the same floor as ex-premiers, musical legends,
research giants … your mother, your father?
No? Truthfully and personally, I can say that rarely does
the thought enter my mind. Most often my head is grappling
with a mix of classroom clutter, socio-emotional material
and financial brick walls that swirl around making a nice
mental paste of self-involvement. I can even remember my
third year at Memorial when I walked in the entrance to
the Arts and Administration building and it suddenly dawned
on me that this university was built as a monument to the
soldiers who died in the two great wars (for a list of those
soldiers, take a peek in the case just in front of the Reid
Theatre – the pages change daily).
It took three years for that epiphany. But it managed to
strike in me the chord that I didn’t know much about
the place in which I was establishing my scholastic roots.
And it took longer to realize that there already are events
and organizations that showcase this history, and facilitate
branching out into the larger community.
For instance, in the past three years there has been a series
of events taking place that have come under the auspices
of Celebrate Memorial. While the events themselves may not
have been regarded as linked, this year’s focus of
Connecting to the Community will certainly achieve that.
Starting on Oct. 14 there will be events taking place over
the 10 days of Celebrate Memorial that will involve, inform
and inspire students, faculty and the community that there
is much more to a university than the bricks of which it
The Celebrity Sports Challenge (Oct. 15) will showcase a
competition of high school students, local legends and current
athletes at The Works, and the Battle of the Bands that
same night will be sure to highlight up-and-coming musical
The Leader Forum will engage participants to think broadly
about how to motivate people to get involved. An open-mic
night gives anyone a chance to showcase musical talent,
a volunteer fair will help fulfill the need in this community
and beyond for quality services. Awards dinners and luncheons
will celebrate achievements past and present and an essay
contest will help pave the way for high school students
for a future at Memorial.
The festivities end with a Community Service Day (Oct. 25)
where volunteers partake in one of four projects in and
around the city for the day.
Thinking beyond these walls is often tough. But the university
is not mutually exclusive of the entire city and province.
So as you walk down these halls again adrift in thought,
think about yourself and where you are today: every last
footstep is now your history that one may write about (or
Memorial may celebrate) years from now.
Chris Hibbs is a fifth-year arts student.