I love summer at UBC.
The sunshine, the luxuriant foliage, the mountains and the ocean, the historic buildings – it all reminds me how lucky I am to work at this amazing institution.
Another thing I like about walking or cycling through the campus on my way to work at this time of year is seeing the hundreds of children who are taking part in UBC summer camps.
Right now, both the Okanagan and Vancouver campuses are ringing with the excited voices of children as they take part in all sorts of camps – everything from dozens of camps – including cooking, composing, cinematography and canoeing. (And those are just the “c”.s Don’t forget soccer, quidditch and lego design!)
Some of the camps are unique to UBC. For example, UBC Okanagan offers an Indigenous Summer Scholars Camp, a free program for 20 Indigenous youth aged 12 to 14. The camp is designed to build awareness about opportunities in higher education for Indigenous youth through interactive workshops that incorporate physical, mental, social, and cultural programming. At the UBC Vancouver campus, kids as young as 6 years old can learn about the marine environment in the Ocean Adventure camps at Acadia Beach. And who could resist (at any age) a camp called “Adrenaline Junkies”?
Besides the kids taking part in the summer camps, there are other young visitors at UBC this summer. For example, there are the Vancouver Summer Programs, which bring 300 students in June and 2000 in July to the Vancouver campus from around the world. The program provides the opportunity for students to take academic courses in various UBC faculties while learning about Canadian practices and culture.
Also at the Vancouver campus this summer are the participants in the SHAD summer enrichment program for high school students. The SHAD program was founded in 1981 and has since expanded to 13 university campuses across Canada, including UBC.
I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with the SHAD students this week. They’ve spent the past month living at UBC (you can check out the students’ blog at http://www.shad.ca/blogs/) and participating in an immersive program of lectures, workshops, projects and other activities focused on business, science, mathematics, and engineering. They’ve listened to guest lectures from UBC professors, business leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators. And they’ve applied their ingenuity and passion to one of the world’s most pressing issue – climate change – and have come up with some intriguing and innovative ways for Canadians to reduce their energy footprint.
SHAD alumni include Rhodes Scholars, Loran Scholars, Top 20 Under 20 nominees, and young leaders in many fields. UBC has been a SHAD host campus for 32 years now, we look forward to supporting and hosting SHAD for many years to come. I hope to welcome many of the SHAD participants as UBC students in the future. Their ideas and their ingenuity give me hope for Canada’s future.
In a few weeks, the rhythm of campus life will shift again as we get ready to welcome the thousands of new students and returning students in September. It’ll be an exciting time! In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the summer.
Professor Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor