Confederation College Celebrates 10 Years of Respect

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Confederation College celebrates 10 years of respect, joined by representatives from community partner, the City of Thunder Bay. From left, Confederation’s Tony Wood, President Jim Madder, Student Union President Jodi Connor, City of Thunder Bay’s Respect advocate Tina Tucker, Confederation Student Union’s Thomas McDonald, Councillor Rebecca Johnson and City of Thunder Bay’s Lee-Ann Chevrette.

Confederation College celebrated a decade of respect on campus on Wednesday, November 3rd, 2016, in recognition of the success the “It’s About Respect.” initiative has seen. The initiative was established in 2006 to help raise awareness about the importance of embracing diversity and creating an inclusive place for people to learn and work. It emphasized the role each person on campus must play in achieving a truly respectful environment. It has helped to create ongoing dialogue, communicate behavioural expectations and teach people how to treat one another.

“A longstanding core value for Confederation College, respect is an integral part of our college culture,” said Jim Madder, President of Confederation. “We foster an inclusive and supportive environment for our students and employees, and the ‘It’s About Respect.’ initiative has played an important role in advancing that effort. We are proud to be celebrating the success of the initiative across the past decade, and to have seen it grow both within the College and our communities.”

What started as a grassroots approach within Confederation’s Counselling department, was quickly endorsed and supported by the College administration, the Student Union and the Oshki Anishnawbeg Student Association.

“As students, it’s important for us to contribute to the creation of a respectful learning environment and the ‘It’s About Respect.’ initiative has helped us do just that,” said Jodi Connor, President of the Student Union (SUCCI). “We have been an active partner of the initiative since its implementation and continue to advocate for the message of respect on campus and beyond. Respect encourages all of us to embrace our differences and celebrate our collective strength.”

Thomas McDonald, SUCCI’s Administrator of Wellness & Diversity and one of the original contributors to the establishment of the “It’s About Respect.” initiative is humbled by how far the initiative has come.

“10 years ago when we began the work on our initial respect campaign, we anticipated this would be a short-term solution – a button, a pamphlet and some posters,” he said. “A decade later that initial work has become a lasting force, leading change and empowerment on our campus, at other schools and in our community. We couldn’t be more pleased with the evolution of respect.”

With the help of an advisory committee, College administration and SUCCI, that evolution has included the integration of the “It’s About Respect,” principles in College policy, curriculum, student and employee training, and more. Elements of the initiative that have helped to spread its message include the creation of a video, buttons, posters, handouts and classroom presentations, to name a few. It is also included in the College’s annual Orientation events for first-year students. Throughout the 10 years, the look and feel of the initiative has seen regular updates to appropriately reflect the changing student demographics on campus, for example incorporating international students upon their introduction to the College community.

“It’s About Respect.” has also inspired other colleges across Canada, and community partners such as the City of Thunder Bay, the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and the Fort Frances O.P.P., to adopt the movement. Confederation College representatives have also presented at several conferences throughout the past decade.

To learn more about the “It’s About Respect.” initiative, visit www.confederationcollege.ca/respect.

Confederation College has been serving the citizens of northwestern Ontario since 1967 meeting the educational needs of students in a catchment area of some 550,000 square kilometres. Along with its main campus in Thunder Bay, Confederation College has eight regional sites located in Dryden, Fort Frances, Geraldton, Kenora, Marathon, Sioux Lookout, Red Lake and Wawa.

Confederation College delivers exceptional education and training to an average of 7,800 combined full and part-time students per year and currently has a total of 805 full and part-time employees. Confederation’s regional economic impact and contribution is valued at $411.2 million annually.

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