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   A Memorial University of Newfoundland Publication

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October 2, 2003

Thoughts on a celebration

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 is made.

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 talent.

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.


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Next issue: October 16, 2003

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