Orillia Campus’ Turtle Island Student Circle reflects on wins, opportunities over past year’s growth.
By Tom Rose, Staff Writer
Since relaunching and revamping at the end of last year, the Turtle Island Student Circle has made some big leaps over their last year at LU Orillia. With a new name and increased student participation, TISC has run almost double the events they did in the 2015-16 school year, garnering what executive member Winston Boudreau describes as “respectful turnouts” to each one. TISC’s free moccasin-making workshop earlier this month, for example, was filled to capacity and had an impressive waitlist.
On top of their impressive event schedule, Boudreau points to the increase of “cultural resources” such as smudging areas and space to gather on the Orillia campus as big wins for the club over last year. Boudreau also hints that the club has plans to work with the school to extend resources even further, stating that there will be more “which will…be addressed later on in the coming year”. Of all the initiatives TISC has had a hand in over the last seven months, perhaps most impressive is the building of a tipi on campus this summer, which Boudreau states will be used for “various events and teachings” aimed at the student body. “The idea,” he says, “is to bring about a sense of community and garner interest from students and administration and faculty on campus.”
TISC is playing their hand close to their chest on how they intend to build even more interest going forward, however, with Boudreau only saying that “there is a lot that can be incorporated with this facility…that is culturally respectful of what this will represent not just on campus, but abroad as well.”
Going forward, Boudreau notes that students can expect “more noise from the club” in their ongoing efforts to expand reach and integrate not only more students, but the larger community as a whole, into their events. While education and cultural awareness are still key to TISC’s goals as a club, Boudreau says he’d like to see a little more variety in their events going forward. “We would like to push for not just educational events which TISC would [be] fronting,” says Boudreau, “but also more of a celebration”. Could the dream of a pow wow on the Orillia campus finally be coming to fruition?
At this point, Boudreau and the other members of TISC haven’t indicated strongly in either direction, although in the past they have expressed the desire to organize a similar celebration “in the future”. Pow wows take a lot of work to plan, and a successful one is going to require slightly more engagement than we’ve seen in the past. With the track TISC seems to be on, however, there is hardly any doubt they can get there eventually. Pow wow or not, the bottom line is that students will want to keep an eye out for even more exciting events from this club, who seemingly has nowhere to go but up.