The College of New Caledonia (CNC) in Quesnel kicked off its 2019-20 school year with a week of welcoming activities.
Orientation week began on Tuesday, Sept. 3 with a smudging ceremony led by Nazko Elder Doreen Patrick.
Starting at 11:30 a.m., Patrick acknowledged the four First Nations communities in the area of the college, and explained smudging to a group of about 20 students and faculty. She then performed a traditional welcome and prayer for the group, wishing them an enjoyable year free from worry or negativity.
The next day, on Wednesday, Sept. 4, the CNC Students’ Union provided a complimentary lunch at 12:30 p.m. in the atrium.
According to Tim Lofstrom, regional principal, about 200 students took part in the lunch, which a CNC Students’ Union representative from Prince George helped serve.
“It was really a great event,” Lofstrom said, adding that he saw broad-based participation by students enrolled in all types of programs. “It brought together a very wide range of our student population.”
On Thursday, Sept. 5 the college sponsored a free barbecue at 11:30 a.m., which Lofstrom said was attended by leadership from Prince George, including Vice-President Academic Chad Thompson and Aboriginal Education Director Marlene Erickson.
At press time, a free pancake breakfast was also scheduled for Friday, Sept. 6 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., provided by the University of Northern British Columbia South-Central and cooked by members of the Rotary Club of Quesnel.
“There’s no better way to bring people together than with food,” Lofstrom said. “And for students on a limited budget, to be able to offer a week of complimentary food and lunch for them, I think, is really important.”
According to a release celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first CNC campus in Prince George, which was opened in 1969, enrolment across all campuses increased this year.
As of Aug. 29, the release said, CNC had 3,076 students for the 2019 fall term across all campuses, an increase of five per cent from last fall.