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192 days remaining – The Olympics and higher education in Vancouver

August 3, 2009

I was fascinated to find out a little while back while reading about the transportation plan for the Olympics that the universities, colleges and other sources of higher education in Vancouver will be receiving a two-week reading break in February this year!

I am staying at Elspeth’s house tonight (I am becoming a professional couch surfer!) and she hasn’t felt that the Olympics have impacted her much. In her case, it is likely true! She lives near the university, away from direct 2010 construction, is working very hard on finishing her PhD and won’t be around at UBC come February (since her thesis should be done), so really, that leaves little to impact her, but a two-week reading break will impact a lot of students!

UBC’s Vice-President of students put out this update in 2007 which covers many of the reasons why there will be a two-week break (that conveniently overlaps the Olympic Games perfectly – evening of Friday February 12 until Sunday February 28). The main reason that I understand, as laid out in the transportation plan is to keep students off of the transit to free it up for Olympic use. The second reason listed is to free students up to volunteer, participate or spectate, and I think this is fabulous! A very nice way to make the Olympics more accessible to all of Vancouver’s post-secondary education students. His third reason is that it will “provide the opportunity for social dialogue, debate and discussion through a series
of symposia and events (around the city or via webcast, TBD)”. I am curious about this one, and where it will go, however there is no current information on any events related to this. We’ll just have to wait and see what comes up.

Anyhow, it is an interesting departure from the norm for all of the post-secondary institutions in Vancouver and a great chance for their students to really become involved (though I suspect some may take the time at home or at a beach). I hope that most of the students see this as the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that it is and get involved!!

Off to bed for me! My things arrive from Australia tomorrow so it will be a busy day. I hope that you all are well, happy and looking forward to the Olympics! Thank you, Merci.


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