Laying foundations for the future: Creating a legacy for Indigenous student support and engagement

August 19, 2013

Thanks to a $100,000 gift from the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of Canada and the United States (UA Local 170), Indigenous students at SFU will have a gathering space within the Faculty of Education.

This will contribute to building a positive overall environment from the outset of the university experience for Indigenous students. 

“As a former UA 170 member and SFU Aboriginal alumnus myself, I’m very pleased that this has all come together,” says Ron Johnston, director of the Office of Indigenous Education for SFU Education. “This generous contribution will help to develop a home away from home and sense of place and belonging for Aboriginal learners while they are on their educational journey at our faculty.“

The gift will also be used to create purpose-built offices, laying the foundation for program growth and development.

“The Faculty of Education at SFU has a long history of engagement with Aboriginal communities, and we are committed to furthering the goals and aspirations of Indigenous education,” says SFU Education dean Kris Magnusson.

“We are extremely thankful for the generous donation from UA Local 170. These funds will help us to create a physical space within the faculty at the Burnaby campus to both welcome and honour Aboriginal students. We look forward to continuing to develop pathways to education for Aboriginal learners, and to future collaborations with UA Local 170.”

These new facilities will be a space for collaboration, sharing, and inquiry for the university and the wider community. 

“The United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters, Welders and Apprentices Local 170 have been active supporters of B.C.'s Aboriginal community,” says Joe Shayler, business manager and financial secretary for UA Local 170. “We currently represent a multicultural membership of 4,400 tradespersons. Our educational centres are committed to providing the highest standards of training to ensure job opportunities and safe work environments for our members. 

“Today, we would like to further entrench our commitment to the First Nations people by offering this gift to the Office of Indigenous Education, at Faculty of Education. The UA are happy to be involved with Simon Fraser University and First Nations by providing access to academic and technical training and would like to show that in terms of our financial commitment of $100,000.”