The Sky is Not the Limit 2

UFV-40th-logo-final-WEB-for-preview-WHITE-230x95The University of the Fraser Valley in Vancouver is co-hosting this Friday’s The Sky is Not the Limit event, featuring Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield and Victor Spence with his World Peace Tartan. Recently we spoke with Tricia Townsend of the UFV about the university’s Peace and Conflict Studies program and its involvement with this weekend’s signature event.

The UFV is quite multicultural is it not?
UFV has a wonderful array of ethnicities represented on our campuses. We have many Aboriginals, a strong Indo-Canadian population, and many other Canadians with an array of cultural backgrounds. We also have 900 international students from 45 countries with representation strongest from China, India and the USA.

When and why did you get involved in the event?
Dr. Elizabeth Dow, Director of Social Work and Human Services recommended that UFV get involved with this event. She recognized the opportunity to bring together the promotion of UFV’s peace and conflict studies with Col. Hadfield’s fascinating story, and Summit Negotiation Society’s desire to promote conflict negotiation. Chris’ own message of peace that he sent out while in space is a great tie in for our program.

How did you get Chris Hadfield on board?
All of the credit goes to Summit. When some folks at UFV got the vision to be involved, the momentum and excitement to participate was turned up. We are thrilled to see how this event has come together.

What are the rewards of being involved?
UFV is proud to be associated with this event, the co-sponsors, and Col. Hadfield. It provides us with a fantastic way to promote our 40th anniversary year and our peace and conflict studies program. Chris’ own story speaks volumes about the way a single individual can ignite interest in reaching the globe with messages of peace and learning. The synergy of our own celebration, our peace and conflict studies program, Summit’s work in world conflict resolution and Col. Hadfield’s narrative is an incredible opportunity for many to learn more about our institution and program.

What are the challenges?
For UFV, in the midst of planning for 40th anniversary celebrations, adding in such a prominent event as this has challenged our event planning resources. That being said, we have had staff step up and do an amazing job to pull our part together. We are proud to see many of our students come forward to participate as volunteers. We have also been fortunate to have such a good partner as Summit to work with on all aspects of the event.

Why is it an important event for the community there?
In addition to the great enthusiasm in North Vancouver and the District of North Vancouver, the UFV community will benefit greatly from this event. We are very pleased to be participants in honoring Col. Hadfield. We are also quite happy to have the opportunity to promote our fledgling peace and conflict studies program. We are well known in the Fraser Valley, and the opportunity to showcase the university in the Vancouver community is exciting.

What can attendees expect?
At both the Meet and Greet Reception (6 pm) and “The Sky is not the Limit” presentation, UFV will have numerous representatives in attendance. We look forward to joining others in honouring Chris Hadfield and being able to make attendees aware of our own work in educating the world and promoting peace and conflict studies.

Will there be similar events to follow?
This event kicks off our 40th anniversary celebrations. We will host a variety of events over the next year. We look forward to celebrating with the various communities that have partnered with UFV in the Fraser Valley to help bring University level education and community engagement to so many local residents. We are excited to celebrate these 40 years of changing lives and building community, and thank our students, alumni, donors, employees, and communities for working together to build a truly unique and relevant university.

How else are you involved with the Celtic community there?
We are also proud to have contributed to the Celtic tradition by helping the city of Abbotsford create its own Tartan in 2011. It was designed by one of our own fashion design students, local resident Samantha Merritt.