This is both a first blog, to introduce ourselves and our unique opportunity with Rose Charities and a report on the ‘inaugural lecture’ which our class attended. This was a particularly exciting start to what some might call just another semester but, as this lecture was the official launch of a partnership between Rose Charities and Kwantlen Polytechnic University, I think that most of us felt a lot more anticipation of what is to come than is usually felt when looking at a class schedule of tests and term paper due dates. Rather than due dates for papers, the Kwantlen students in this class will be working with Rose Charities project leaders and the projects which have been proposed are as diverse as the charities which operate under the Rose Charities umbrella.
(This event, which was being held while most of this article was being written, is now being edited as a podcast by James, our class videographer.)
We were fortunate to have as a guest speaker, along with introductions of many project leaders from Rose Charities, the president of Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Dr. David Atkinson. During his speech, Dr. Atkinson stressed how partnerships such as this are “not just important to social sciences… [but are] also in line with [Kwantlen’s] mandate.” The mandate Dr. Atkinson speaks of is alluded to or written on nearly every page of Kwantlen’s website. In Kwantlen’s mission statement the mandate is made clear as being the preparation of students for their roles as future leaders, in capacities which will be as varied as the students themselves.
Dr. Larissa Petrillo is the inspiration behind the partnership between Kwantlen and Rose Charities. In her words, anthropology “is a fuzzy zone!”. In her speech, Dr. Petrillo let us see the enthusiasm and drive which has enabled her to put this partnership together. Further, she sees the work being done today, by Non-Government Organizations such as Rose Charities, as an extremely intimate thing. These NGOs are mostly small groups of incredibly motivated individuals, working in communities which can be classed as “micro-cultural.” These small scale communities are everywhere people are. And the Canadian NGOs which serve these communities? They are now, as a group, adding up to approximately 7% of the Canadian economy. Rose Charities though, does not fall into this category of paid employees within the NGO community. On Tuesday night we also learned that the staff of Rose Charities and the NGOs which belong to this group are volunteer. I thought that these were pretty amazing statistics and I am proud to be studying to be a part of a group of people who are dedicated to making the world a better place for everyone!
Our last speaker of the evening was Dr. William Grut of Rose Charities. With a brief history of this incredible organization we learned just how multi-faceted the work of an NGO can be. From an inauspicious beginning, and with only a few dedicated people armed with ideas and passions, Rose Charities has grown to a size where it can look upon the offer of help from a diverse class of university students and enthusiastically open the doors to us in a manner which promises to be educational, reciprocal, and fun.
Thank you to everyone involved in putting this event on. We look forward to getting to know you better and to your getting to know us better, through this blog and through our work together. As the semester progresses, we will keep you up to date on our progress with photos and interviews here.
Leslie and Leah (the ANTH 3501 bloggers)