Editor’s note: Featured image found at MUN’s “Campus Planning at Memorial” site.
On October 11th, Memorial University’s official Twitter page shared a survey regarding a potential skating trail on campus.
The trail is one of the many recommendations for Memorial University’s “Campus Master Plan,” which, according to the official website, proposes “a sustainable urban design approach for campus buildings, open spaces, the public realm, and transportations connections.”
Accordingly, students, faculty, and community members can vote on a total of nine proposed areas. These sustainable urban designs include a handful of walking trails, expansions to existing buildings, and most notably, an “Indigenous House.”
Firstly, the skating trail is one of the many proposed features of the “Transit Hub & Clock Tower Quad,” which includes a “new multi-storey public transit building with waiting areas, social spaces, retail, and other university uses.” Meanwhile, an open space near the clock tower called the ‘Clock Tower Quad’ will include improved landscaping and seating areas alongside the trail itself.
Furthermore, the “Indigenous House” will be the possible future home of the Indigenous Student Centre. This building may include a new garden forecourt with Indigenous medicine gardens and gathering spaces. This potential installment comes as no surprise as many establishments across Canada are attempting to take part in the recent social justice movement sparked by the discovery of Indigenous children’s remains buried in former residential schools.
Consequently, said movement is responsible for the “National Day for Truth and Reconciliation” which had taken place on September 30th, where Canadians were encouraged to reflect on the past injustices inflicted on Indigenous peoples. Accordingly, Memorial University is attempted to play its part in the initiative by cancelling its classes for the day while also collecting more Indigenous students’ perspectives regarding its plans here. These actions are all in an effort to “build greater awareness amongst the non-Indigenous community of Indigenous Peoples, histories, and culture.”
Accordingly, although the Indigenous House may be a step in the right direction, some concern has arisen that this may solely be one of the many “performative gestures” commonly seen across Canada to avoid enacting any effective change.
The Master Plan includes three phases: Background & Visioning, Draft Master Plan, Final Master Plan. They are currently on their second phase and the plans are anticipated to be completed near the year 2022.
However, the actual construction of the developments themselves is dependent on whether “funding and opportunities arise,” and is currently considered a “15 Year Vision” in progress.