DIRECTOR OF FINANCE WORK BLOG – 17th POST

From my WORK BLOG…

I’d heard rumours that the new White Rock Location was going to be closing so today I did some online searching. What did I find? Well…

  • The section on the Kwantlen website devoted to the location is gone.
  • There is no more information about the location on Kwantlen’s “contact us” page.

I did however, find an article about it in the White Rock Newspaper, the Peace Arch News:

http://www.peacearchnews.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=44&cat=23&id=854907&more=1

The article is a far cry from the original announcement made in fall 2006 of the opening of the location… http://www.kwantlen.ca/news/2005/121505.html

And for me, it’s a little disappointing that the new White Rock Location of Kwantlen University College is now closing. And it makes me angry that Kwantlen couldn’t even bother to post a press release about this… it seems the only news worth talking about at Kwantlen is the good news… see for yourself: Kwantlen News

If what Kwantlen says is true – that enrollment was not high enough to justify keeping it open [as you have to cover facility costs (to open, close and clean the place), and certainly you have to pay each teacher for each section they teach] – then perhaps they are justified in closing it.

But certainly more could have been done to market the location to local residents, including the three high schools that are located in the vicinity. Perhaps…

  • information tables could have been setup in the nearby Semiahmoo Mall or at any of the other strip malls in the area;
  • some of the criminology courses that were offered there could have been advertised through the Community Policing or victim services offices that exist in the area;
  • ads could have been bought on the local channel four, Shaw community television station;
    perhaps events could have been held at the location in conjunction with the 25th anniversary celebration (which was so Surrey-centric); and

  • specific mailers could have been sent to any current (or past) Kwantlen student who lived in the area.

Perhaps . Perhaps . Perhaps . You could go on all day listing alternatives.

No doubt Kwantlen probably had regular ads in the Peace Arch News and other local papers. But certainly the City of White Rock could have assisted and so too could have the Bosa people.

But you cannot deny that there is no doubt Kwantlen officials will say they did all they could to market the location. It’s not Kwantlen’s fault.

It was also interesting to see the Peace Arch article talk about how Bosa seemed to now have more because of the Kwantlen closure (specifically two more floors that were originally approved by White Rock Council to be used by Kwantlen). But Kwantlen too seems to have gotten some good out of it – in the form of an October 2006 pledge of $10,000 from the Rotary Club of Semiahmoo. Take a look at this press release here: http://www.kwantlen.ca/news/2006/171006.htm … Specifically, I love this part of the release…

“One of our club’s top ongoing priorities is engaging and interacting with our youth. When Kwantlen University College opened a campus in White Rock, we saw a perfect opportunity for partnership,” said Linda Whitehead, President of the Rotary Club of Semiahmoo.

As the Director of Finance, I was recently looking at ways the KSA could do more for the location – add lockers to the site, send one of our Member Services staff to the site on a bi-weekly or weekly basis to sell transit passes, movie tickets and other items. I’d hoped we could also organize events for the location – and one thing I’d like to see is the KSA organize some kind of BBQ or breakfast for the location before the semester ends. And earlier this year I brought a motion forward to have the KSA create a “White Rock Location Liaison” so that students at that location could have a voice on the KSA’s Board of Directors. A by-election to fill that position is now underway – but sadly, I guess we will have to cut that position. I will definitely bring this up at this week’s Council meeting and I may recommend to Council this week one of two options:

  • that an “off-site location liaison” be created to represent students at any off-site location, or to represent students who are studying online at Kwantlen; or
  • that the position be eliminated and that the honorarium that was to go to that student be divided among the seven remaining liaisons – as a means of boosting their individual budgets of $450 to $735 per position. Finally, the $450 allocated for the White Rock Location liaison could be moved into the line item for the Social Justice Centre.

Or perhaps, the KSA could lobby to get someone in that position – to lobby Kwantlen on re-considering its position. The KSA could start up a petition and get it signed. We could write the various stakeholders. We could write the local high schools. We could do what we do best – lobby.

Maybe that is our best option. Because my worry lies with the students will be displaced by the closure of this location. The Peace Arch article cites a number of students who currently feel displaced. Many seemed to be able walk to the campus from where they live. And they will now be forced into their cars to go to the Surrey and Langley campuses (don’t even ask them to take transit – especially to Langley or Richmond – because transit from White Rock to other areas has always been lackluster at best).

The White Rock / South Surrey area seems to be growing rapidly – and having a post secondary presence in the area seems to make sense.

According to Kwantlen in 2006, this was supposed to be the first of “many similar community initiatives by Kwantlen…” ( http://www.kwantlen.ca/news/2006/020206.html ) … but if this initiative has failed, what will happen to this new era of community education ( http://www.kwantlen.ca/news/pdf/community_update_06.pdf )? Kwantlen certinaly got a lot of positive press out of the opening of the location… but if Kwantlen can’t get enough students to attend that campus – how can they ensure enough people attend the other campuses? What will BOSA do? Perhaps they can get SFU to open another Surrey campus… http://www.bosaproperties.com/bosa-whiterock/vision-01.html (even the BOSA website seems to be now void of anything to do with a post secondary education presence).

Personally, I don’t have an answer. Maybe you do?

– Steve

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