Five years ago, on Oct. 17, 2007, the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) mobilized thousands of staff and students throughout the province to volunteer for hundreds of community-based projects.
It was the college's way of saying ‘thank you' to Nova Scotians for helping us build a world-class community college.
Here at the Truro campus, our ‘thank you' day included a neighborhood cleanup campaign in Truro and we bagged groceries at supermarkets and rural stores across Colchester County and gave away paper bags to promote our ‘Green' message.
NSCC was then, and is now, acutely aware that it is not just a community college in name, but in practice. With 13 campuses across the province, the success of both the college and Nova Scotia's communities are intertwined.
At its heart, Reach Out to Nova Scotia was about ‘learning to make a difference' - a one-day demonstration of the power of applying your skills to benefit your community.
However, our "reaching out" did not stop after that day in the fall of 2007. It continues to be a major part of the institution in many different ways. That day lives on in the ways that students and employees contribute to communities either directly through service-learning projects, or simply because they live here and want to make a difference.
Over the last five years at the Truro campus we have started an annual Mawio'mi, a celebration of Mi'kmaq culture and history through traditional costumes, stories, music, songs and dance - something we are proud to host and look forward to every year.
We were selected as the best ‘Best Buddies' college and community partnership in Canada. The ‘Best Buddies' program offers our students an opportunity to partner with a child who is intellectually or developmentally challenged and then spend time together each week as ‘best buddies.'
In another avenue of community service, one of our students re-designed an ancient musical instrument into a modern day string-a-ling that can be used as an affordable music therapy tool. And I could go on. The work of NSCC students and staff is often aimed at giving back, or reaching out.
Here at the NSCC, Truro campus we are grateful to be part of a community that embraces us and provides us with ongoing opportunities to reach out to our community.
As noted in my last column, the Truro campus is a ‘hub' of activity and learning. Just drive by here any night of the week and on weekends and our parking lots are full. Beyond campus life, on an individual basis the people who make this campus great (our employees and learners) contribute much of themselves to the community through ongoing volunteer and community leadership roles.
We want to continue to support our community, strengthen our existing relationships and build new ones. We look forward to more opportunities for this kind of inspired learning and partnerships.
Thanks for reading, and have safe and happy Halloween.
Kevin Quinlan is the principal of the Nova Scotia Community College, Truro campus.