All of our universities have Aboriginal Student Centres that are hubs of activity and build community on our campuses. These centres provide academic support and resources to assist in the transition to campus life to the more than 6,500 Aboriginal students on our campuses.1 Ontario universities also reach out to Aboriginal communities, so they can enrich campuses with local knowledge and build lasting and respectful relationships.
The COU’s Deepening Our Relationship report details how Ontario universities have been working with communities to incorporate Indigenous histories, cultures, traditions, and culturally appropriate supports through campus life. This work has laid strong foundations to open up even more opportunities for universities to support the goals outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations.
In addition, the ‘Let’s Take Our Future Further’ campaign celebrated the achievements and contributions of Aboriginal learners and alumni at Ontario universities, and to encourage current students to continue to pursue and complete their studies. The COU campaign launched in February 2016 and showcased 13 videos of Aboriginal learners who had blazed their trail at university and encouraged others to do the same.
The COU Reference Group on Aboriginal Education, composed of Aboriginal members of our university community, promotes and facilitates opportunities for Ontario universities to engage one another in creating meaningful change to meet the needs of Aboriginal learners and communities.
1 MAESD. “Universities’ Multi-Year Accountability Agreement Report Back System-Wide Summary.” 2013-14. Note: Not all Indigenous students may choose to Self-ID, so we anticipate that this number is low.