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Date: July 23, 2008

RBC Gift Helps Aboriginal Youth Sample UVic Student Life

University of Victoria programs that introduce Aboriginal youth and adult learners to academic life have received a major boost, thanks to a $600,000 gift from RBC.

The beneficiaries of the gift—UVic’s Indigenous Student Summer Camp and Indigenous Adult Orientation Programs—give the Aboriginal Peoples of Vancouver Island and British Columbia an introduction to opportunities in post-secondary education.

One of UVic’s goals is to build on its commitment to Canada’s First Peoples by increasing the number of Indigenous students graduating from all faculties at UVic and fostering a welcoming and accessible learning environment. The support from RBC will give more Indigenous young people, many from remote communities, the chance to come to campus and consider pursuing a post-secondary education.

“We are very grateful to RBC for securing the funding for these vital programs,” says UVic President David Turpin. “The bank’s gift will strengthen and expand our programs and encourage Aboriginal young people to continue their education.”

From July 21 to 25 UVic is hosting over 30 Aboriginal students from communities across BC at the Indigenous Student Summer Camp. The students, in Grades 8 to 12, will explore the range of opportunities available to them at UVic. They will meet Aboriginal faculty and students and attend workshops on a variety of subjects including robotics, computer animation, writing, visual arts and law.

“We’ve created an exciting week packed with activity that will appeal to this diverse group of young people, each bringing their own special talents and interests to the camp,” says Fran Hunt Jinnouchi, director of the Office of Indigenous Affairs. “And thanks to this wonderful gift from RBC, we have even more to celebrate. This gift is real affirmation of the great work we’ve done so far, and it will carry us forward for many years.”

“The RBC Foundation is pleased to support such worthwhile programs that share the value of education and focus on encouraging Aboriginal youth to pursue their dreams,” says Tom Siemens, RBC’s vice-president of commercial banking for the South Island area.

The number of Aboriginal students at UVic has increased by more than 700 per cent since 1999 with over 600 Aboriginal students attending classes on campus.

Media Advisory:
Members of the media are invited to attend the closing feast for UVic’s Indigenous Student Summer Camp at the Esquimalt Nation Big House on Friday, July 25 at 12:30 pm. Camp participants, parents, elders, members of the university executive and RBC representatives will be in attendance.
Media contacts:

Patty Pitts (UVic Communications) at 250-721-7656 or ppitts@uvic.ca

Fran Hunt Jinnouchi (Director, Office of Indigenous Affairs) at 250-721-6326 or franhj@uvic.ca

UVic media releases and other resources for journalists are available on the World Wide Web at http://communications.uvic.ca/media

(image: fern)