50th anniversary celebrations kick off at Lake Tamblyn
By Leah Ching
This past Friday evening on Lake Tamblyn, Lakehead University began its 50th anniversary celebrations in conjunction with LUSU’s week-long Winter Carnival. In true northern style, students, faculty and members of the Thunder Bay community came out and braved the cold to celebrate. Activities like skating, tobogganing and free s’more roasting around a fire were available for students, staff, alumni, family, and friends to enjoy.
Visitors had an absolute blast, with free tickets to the Thunderwolves’ game, and free bussing there and back. People decked out in mittens and scarves didn’t seem to mind the chill, with cheers erupting from the crowd after a spectacular firework show was set off over the lake.
One third year Engineering student said, “The celebration is perfectly suited to a Northern Ontario university. We’re skating and tobogganing and making the best of the winter chill. Winter Carnival celebrates what’s unique about Lakehead, and that’s what’s great about this event.”
The turnout to the Winter Carnival has demonstrated that in only fifty years, Lakehead has cultivated a vibrant relationship with its students and with the wider Thunder Bay community as a whole. Many believe that this fifty year mark is a time to pause and consider how far Lakehead has come, and how much further it has to go.
Looking forward, LUSU President Ian Kaufman shared some impactful words, considering what’s special about Lakehead, and the pressing need for some real discussion on the direction the university is headed in.
“Our university administrators didn’t need to pay a marketing firm hundreds of thousands of dollars to tell them that Lakehead is ‘exceptional and unconventional,’ because that’s obvious. Lakehead is unique (and indispensable) because of the communities it serves.”
“In particular, Lakehead is special because it’s northwestern Ontario’s university,” said Kaufman. “There are a lot of important discussions that need to happen for this region in terms of the impacts of globalization and extractivism on small northern communities, in terms of the relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous people and communities, in terms of sustainability and our relationship with the natural world. Lakehead does a lot to inform, enrich, and amplify those discussions here in northwestern Ontario.”
Matt Quick, VPA for LUSU was proud of how the union and the university were able to work together and build relationships around event planning. Matt’s speech was overlooked in the event’s closing remarks (as the fireworks were announced by Dr. Stevenson ahead of scheduled ignition time) but Matt is proud of the combined efforts of both sides, and looks forward to possible future collaborative event hosting.
As Lakehead moves into its fiftieth year, there’s a lot to look forward to: from LUSU’s upcoming elections, to amped up sustainability movements like Fossil Free Lakehead, to more ways to live up to its motto and truly be both exceptional and unconventional.