What’s in store for UBC’s Centennial year?

On September 30, 2015, UBC will be turning 100. The date marks the official centennial anniversary of the first day of classes at UBC.

In commemoration of the milestone, UBC’s year-long centennial celebrations will kick off with a ceremonial service for the official opening of the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre, followed by events and festivities in the afternoon. The official closing of the centennial is projected to take place during Alumni Weekend 2016.

“[The centennial is] a chance for us to celebrate and grow awareness of UBC’s impact on the world and highlight the contributions of our students our alumni staff and faculty,” said Gerald Calderon of the Centennial Office.

One of the events planned is a large scale photo operation recreating an iconic photograph from the end of the Great Trek in 1922, where students gathered to form the letters “UBC.” This year, current students will be enlisted, with the help of AMS president Aaron Bailey, to spell out “UBC 100.”

Last year, there was a call for proposals for the Centennial Initiatives Fund. Project ideas submitted by student, alumni, and community groups were adjudicated by an 11-member committee.

“We think of that as the engine of the centennial because that’s where we get university wide participation,” said Calderon. “[The response] was overwhelming, but I was very pleased with that.”

Committee representatives included Tanner Bokor, then-AMS president, Rachel Kuske, Senior Advisor to the Provost on Women Faculty, and Linc Kesler, Advisor to the President on Aboriginal Affairs and Director of First Nations House of Learning.

“What the committee decided from the very beginning was that they really want the proposals to mean something.” said Calderon. “It wasn’t about throwing a party or having a gala or something of that nature… The primary objectives for the centennial really were to engage the community on issues that are important for the community.”

Already, Calderon believes that the centennial is bringing people together.

“What I’m starting to see is because of these various initiatives that are happening all over campus, a number of units are starting to partner together… [The centennial] somehow enhanced all [of] these opportunities for collaboration and opportunities for partnership.”