College spirit was high last week as campuses in Inuvik, Yellowknife and Fort Smith, as well as in the 23 learning centres across the Northwest Territories, celebrated the annual Aurora College Week.
“The whole purpose of the week is to get people to mingle, encourage students to socialize with other programs, building that sense of community within the college,” Faye Heron, student life and wellness coordinator at Thebacha campus in Fort Smith, said.
Various family-friendly events defined the fun-filled week, including Zumba dance demonstrations, tug-of-war challenges, College Idol contests, treasure hunts, guest speaker sessions, crafts and cook-offs.
The traditional pancake breakfast last Wednesday on the Aurora campus in Inuvik was “very well attended, with probably just over 100 people,” Campus Director Doug Robertson said.
He noted there was also good attendance at the elders tea and bingo event last Tuesday.
In Fort Smith, the student team from the apprenticeship electrician program took the tug-of-war challenge glory against the team representing the Environment and Natural Resources Technology Program.
Thebacha students also snatched a victory against faculty members in the staff versus students hockey game last Monday evening.
Janelle Nitsiza, 19, and Deanna Johnson, 19 – both first year students in the Teacher Education Program at Thebacha – said they planned to attend as many Aurora College Week events as they could.
They especially enjoyed taking part in the traditional Dene hand games demonstration, led by Peter Paulette, last Tuesday.
Women are not traditionally allowed to partake in hand games North of 60, but Paulette said he asked the elders to make an exception in demonstrations and teaching events.
“I love this; hand games remind me of home,” Nitsiza, from Whati, remarked.
“It’s great to see the college introducing students to cultural things, too. I find that’s an important part of any education,” Johnson added.
Last Thursday, NWT Education Minister Jackson Lafferty spoke about the significance of Aurora College Week in the Legislative Assembly.
“This is an annual celebration of college spirit that brings together students and staff outside the classroom. The college is a strong advocate of community-based learning, and works to foster strong ties with communities,” he said in House. “This celebratory week also encourages the public to learn about Aurora College’s many programs and opportunities for upgrading and training. The department proudly supports Aurora College and takes part in celebrating Aurora College Week.”