As a Lakehead alum, coming back to the Thunder Bay campus to fill in as editor with the Communications department has been an eye-opening experience. The University has grown so much in recent years and it's stimulating to see the changes up close. My window in the Braun Building gives me a direct view of the Ryan Building, where I had many of my classes as a political studies undergrad. But right next to it now sits the gleaming Advanced Technology and Academic Centre (ATAC) and across the way is the new Northern Ontario School of Medicine.
Even more than the physical changes to the campus, the most exciting thing has been being back in an environment crackling with ideas and activity. I've noticed that Lakehead students of different ages, interests, and fields of study are looking outward and becoming catalysts of change. Their fresh perspectives and fearless attitudes give the University its dynamic character. Whether it's building a home for a Guatemalan family, collaborating with First Nations to study climate change, ensuring the growth of the Mariposa Folk Festival, or winning the 2011 international bridge building competition, it's clear that our students are connecting wholeheartedly with the world. Their work on the economic development, environmental sustainability, and socio-cultural fronts, among others, is impressive.
Lakehead University is responding to the call from students for an education that allows them to fully engage with their communities. Faculty and staff in all areas are exploring ways that they can nurture the next generation of leaders as Lakehead moves toward a more inclusive educational approach that emphasizes social justice and community outreach.
This shift is closely linked to Lakehead's embrace of diversity as a priority – diversity in the backgrounds and goals of our students as well as diversity in the research and programming the University offers. Creating multiple pathways for students to attend University and intensifying efforts to reach out and support Aboriginal and international students are just two ways that Lakehead is showing students that it shares their commitment to changing the world.
As alumni, faculty, and staff read through the pages of the Magazine, they can be proud of the sense of purpose and responsibility that Lakehead is fostering in its students and the real contributions our students are making even before they graduate.