Top 20 VIU stories of 2022

Group holds up a conceptual rendering of the new student housing facility coming to VIU's Nanaimo campus

December 20, 2022 - 11:45am

From climate change research and major funding announcements, to a Canada goose that travelled a long way from home and the start-up of psychedelic-assisted therapy training, 2022 was a busy year at Vancouver Island University.

Here’s our top 20 of 2022 year-in-review list.

 Deborah Saucier and Stephen Jarislowsky signing documents seated at a table

VIU establishes Chair in Trust and Political Leadership

VIU was one of five Canadian universities selected to form a unique network focused on educating future politicians and civil servants. The Jarislowsky Foundation invested $2 million to help establish this role at VIU, which will “examine ethics and governance in Canadian foreign policy at a time when the rules-based international order is being challenged.” Learn more.

Two Canada geese on grass with the tagging collars on their necks

The mystery of the Canada goose that ended up in Chicago

How did a Canada goose that was tagged in Nanaimo end up in Chicago? VIU Biology Professor Dr. Eric Demers is not sure, but he offered his best guesses to media outlets back in February after someone spotted it and reported the digits on its collars to the Canada Goose tagging website run by Demers. Learn more.

Three women smile at camera

VIU offers first-in-Canada psychedelic-assisted therapy program

A new graduate program that trains health-care professionals to deliver psychedelic-assisted therapies launched last fall. The curriculum is delivered in collaboration with VIU Elder-in-Residence Geraldine Manson, Indigenous professionals and cultural safety experts. Learn more.

Group shot of people with hockey equipment

Alum organizes hockey equipment donation to Nunavut

When RCMP Const. Josh Cook arrived in Kinngait, Nunavut, he noticed the hockey equipment for youth in that community was inadequate to safely outfit everyone who wanted to play. A former VIU Mariner himself, Cook got the VIU Mariners, Nanaimo RCMP and local businesses, including Kirby’s Source for Sports, involved, and the result was two shipments of skates, hockey sticks and other equipment to outfit the youth. Learn more.

VIU Chancellor with Talking Stick and totem in VIU Centre for Health and Science

VIU Chancellor receives talking stick from University of Victoria

Cloy-e-iis, Dr. Judith Sayers received a Talking Stick from UVic officials during a special gifting ceremony last spring that aimed to deepen the relationship between the two institutions and reaffirm a mutual commitment to reconciliation. Carved by ts’usquinuxun’, William Good, a Hereditary Chief from the Snuneymuxw First Nation, the Talking Stick was given to Sayers in a ceremony that honoured Coast Salish protocol and traditions. Learn more.

Group holds up conceptual renderings of Phase 2 of Shq'apthut, VIU's Indigenous gathering place

Provincial government funds Shq’apthut expansion

Shq’apthut, VIU’s Indigenous gathering space, is being expanded to include more ceremonial space, Elder-in-Residence offices and additional washrooms, thanks to $3.3 million in funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training. The building is described as a “home away from home” for Indigenous students. Learn more.   

Woman shows off oyster tanks at VIU's Deep Bay Marine Field Station

Researchers aim to future-proof shellfish

Raising shellfish that can adapt to warmer ocean temperatures is the goal for researchers at VIU’s Deep Bay Marine Field Station. “We know this is an ongoing problem,” says Dr. Tim Green, the University’s Canada Research Chair in Shellfish Health and Genomics. Learn more.

Nanaimo aerial tramway

Student exhibit examines bizarre street names in Nanaimo

Twiggly Wiggly Road, Bob O Link Way, Dingle Bingle Hill Road and Bergen-Op-Zoom Drive are a handful of the unusual street names that can be found in Nanaimo. Students in two upper-level history courses researched the origins of these names to put together an exhibit at the Nanaimo Museum’s Community Gallery. Learn more.

woman in a wheelchair on a ramp at VIU's Nanaimo campus

Province gives VIU $3.3 million for accessibility upgrades

Improving access to teaching spaces, buildings and locations on VIU’s Nanaimo campus – which has more than 400 stairs from bottom to top – is what the money is earmarked for. “VIU is developing a wonderful reputation as leaders in the post-secondary sector for prioritizing accessibility,” said Dr. Linda Derksen, chair of the Universal Access Committee. Watch VIU alum Agasha Mutesasira take officials on an accessibility tour.

Former Advanced Education and Skills Training Minister Anne Kang speaks at a podium

$90-million student housing building coming to Nanaimo campus

On-campus student housing will increase by 50 per cent thanks to a large investment by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training. Construction on the nine-storey, 266-bed building will begin in 2023 and it will include a dining hall and common area for students to gather. Learn more.

Students walk away from the Health and Science Centre, words Giving Tuesday Nov 29 on side

VIU Foundation raises more than $500,000 on Giving Tuesday

Students in need will have fewer financial worries this year thanks to generous support from the local community. Giving Tuesday is a global movement that encourages people to support causes that are meaningful to them during a season that is heavy on holiday sales and consumerism. The campaign, which wrapped up on November 29, supported initiatives such as Give a Meal, which provides meals to students in need on a temporary basis. Learn more.

Barney Williams

Alum and former Elder-in-Residence honoured with provincial award

Barney Williams (Klitch-wii-taa), a VIU alum and former Elder-in-Residence, received a 2022 Courage to Come Back award for his lifelong advocacy for addictions support. Williams is a residential school survivor who has dedicated his life to mental health support and addiction recovery. Learn more.

Hayden, Sheldon and Talela

Summer camp brings Indigenous youth back to campus

After a couple years of offering virtual or hybrid offerings, the Thuy’she’num Tu Smun’eem Indigenous summer camp returned to a fully in-person format last summer, with youth staying in student residences and getting the full campus life experience. IndigiNews spent the afternoon with youth participants and camp leaders learning more about why this camp is so special – and so important. Learn more.

letters home interactive map homepage screenshot

Letters used in innovative ways on Remembrance Day

VIU’s Canadian Letters and Images Project aims to preserve the memories of men and women who have served and continue to serve Canada during times of war, conflict and peace. This Remembrance Day, two organizations took the letters and pushed them out to Canadians in innovative ways – as paintings created by an image-generating algorithm and by sending some of them to their original destinations across Canada. Learn more

screenshot of yomikez tiktok

“Body Hacks” TikToker gains fame and media attention

Mike DeVries, a VIU Electrical student, has found an interesting niche that people seem to love on TikTok – life and body hacks. These tips vary from how to sweat less and get rid of bad breath, to the best time to study and how to stay focused. Learn more.

Three basketball players vying for the ball

VIU hosts national championship basketball tournament

After the 2020 event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the VIU Mariners women’s basketball team got their moment in the spotlight this year when VIU hosted the 2022 CCAA Women’s National Basketball Championships. In 2023, the women’s volleyball team will host nationals and try for winning a fifth national medal in a row. Learn more.

Chef demonstrates Japanese cooking skills

Japan recognizes VIU with bronze accreditation for authentic cuisine

VIU has launched a new Japanese cooking skills certification and is now one of only 12 institutions in the world permitted to offer this specialized training. Learn more.

Whitney Wood on the set of Jeopardy!

Alum, professor make appearances on high-profile TV shows

This summer two VIU community members made the news for appearing on popular TV shows. Theatre alum Willem Roelants appeared on America's Got Talent. Dr. Whitney Wood, VIU's Canada Research Chair in the Historical Dimensions of Women’s Health, appeared on Jeopardy! 

Otis Crabbe

VIU becomes training ground for global culinary competition

Chefs and apprentices from across Canada came to VIU to take part in a training event ahead of the 2024 Culinary Olympics in Germany. Among those on Junior Culinary Team Canada was Otis Crabbe, a VIU Culinary Arts Management grad and current Hospitality Management student. The team recently won a gold and a silver medal at the Villeroy & Boch Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg. Learn more.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing students practice on dummies in the lab

New health-care training seats

The provincial government provided funding to expand seats in three programs – the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program and two programs that help people currently working as health-care assistants and licensed practical nurses ladder up into the next level of nursing competencies. Learn more

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