The last time I wrote to you for this newsletter, we were just embarking on the fall 2020 semester. I am honoured to be writing you again in the final weeks of what I would consider as a truly successful semester at Selkirk College
It is an opportunity to share with you the tremendous impact that the entire Selkirk College community-including donors- has made to sustaining the work of post-secondary education in the region and to enriching the lives of students. In such challenging times, we have truly forged on together with purpose, adaptability and resilience.
Despite all the challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Selkirk College had 2,359 students enrolled across all our programs this semester. In-person delivery is at the heart of what we do at Selkirk College and thanks to the tireless efforts led by our Health and Safety Department, nearly 35% of overall program delivery was conducted in-person, with the rest delivered online. Though planning for a steady increase of on-campus activity continues, it will be contingent upon the progression of the pandemic. We will continue to update you as plans evolve.
It has been inspiring to have watched our Selkirk College community come together in the spirit of remarkable post-secondary education over the last year. As you know, education is more than delivery models, labs, lectures and tests. Education is about empowerment, it’s about raising people up.
Even in the darkest days of the pandemic, I have observed donors, faculty, staff and students display unwavering commitment to the empowerment of learners. The COVID-19 pandemic illuminated new and existing inequities within the student body. Thanks to the strength of this community, I believe we have done an excellent job of rapidly responding to these barriers to create wrap-around student supports that continue to raise learners up. As the final days of 2020 draw to a close, I’d like to take a moment to reflect back on some of the successes:
In February, the annual Bursary Tea event brought together more than 300 members of our community to celebrate the generosity of donors who provide more than $450,000 in scholarships and bursaries each year.
In April, the Selkirk College COVID-19 Student Relief Campaign allowed us to approve 740 applications for student emergency funding for a total of $304,000 disbursed to students.
In September, the Selkirk College Digital Equity Initiative placed 68 laptops in the hands of low-income students, providing the tools needed to participate in online study.
In November, the Selkirk College Virtual Community Celebration brought together more than 70 screens from across the region to enjoy a showcase of student talents.
Now, as the year draws to a close, the Forward Together Annual Campaign has already raised an additional $50,000 to ensure ongoing supports are available into 2021.
As we move forward together, the holiday season is a time for pause. The physical gatherings will be more intimate this year, but technology enables us to connect with family and friends no matter where we spend the season. It is my hope that we can all slow down and recharge, and reflect on all the goodness in our lives. Know that those of us at Selkirk College are filled with gratitude for your support. I hope you will enjoy this reading this issue of the donor newsletter, with stories selected to celebrate the season of giving and the warmth of the holiday season.
From all of us at Selkirk College, happy holidays and best wishes for the year ahead.
Angus Graeme, Selkirk College President