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SUBJECT: Grenfell: Labrador youth experience university first hand through mini-university program
DATE: July 31, 2009

              Students from Nunatsiavut and Labrador Innu communities got a firsthand look at the life of a university student at Grenfell College recently, thanks to financial support from the Nunatsiavut government, Vale Inco, the Labrador Innu Band and Sir Wilfred Grenfell College.
              Titled ‘mini-university,’ the week-long program involved campus tours, biology lab activities, on-campus cafeteria food and lectures from university staff and faculty. The students were particularly interested in the invertebrate biology laboratory; during this lab session the students examined and dissected various invertebrate species while viewing a larger and more comprehensive dissection on a large panel laboratory display. 
             The students spent six nights living in Grenfell’s chalet-style apartments – from this home base they travelled around the west coast. They spent an afternoon learning about nursing careers at the Western Regional School of Nursing, and got to ride a fire truck at the Marine Institute’s Fire Rescue Training facility in Stephenville. They also visited several College of the North Atlantic campuses in western Newfoundland.
             “We are trying to spread the word about the importance of higher education for aboriginal youth,” said Sharon Noftall-Bennett, college registrar. “Last fall, the university chartered a small bush plane and visited all of the northern Labrador communities from Rigolet north to Nain. This flight included university employees from Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Memorial University’s St. John’s campus, the Marine Institute and Western Regional School of Nursing. We were pleased to bring our educational institutions to the youth through classroom presentations, meetings with Nunatsiavut community leaders and career information sessions.”
             In the spring, a second trip took recruiters to the north coast in Nain and Hopedale to re-visit youth and inform them of new program developments and services for aboriginal and rural high school students, such as airport pick up, student orientation, tutoring, counseling services and academic advice. 
            “One of our recruitment officers, Tony Adey, is a member of the Nunatsiavut Canadian Constituency,” said Ms. Noftall-Bennett. “His experience and connections have been of great benefit to Grenfell College.” 
            Through recruitment and retention programs as well as focus groups with students, educational staff and counsellors in Goose Bay and along the north coast, Grenfell College will learn more about rural and aboriginal students in order to serve them better.

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