VIU Exceeds Fundraising Goal for Imagine VIU Campaign

Joseph Monaghan in Applied Environmental Research Laboratories

Joseph Monaghan, a VIU alumnus who is conducting research in the Applied Environment Research Laboratories, says moving to the new Health and Science Centre has expanded opportunities for the world-class research facility.

September 23, 2020 - 9:45am

The campaign raised $7.3 million to complete three new buildings on campus, create new scholarships, awards and bursaries, and acquire cutting-edge equipment.

From new equipment to learn on, to increased research opportunities, to dozens of new student scholarships, awards and bursaries – the impact of the Imagine VIU campaign has expanded beyond its initial goal of equipping and completing three new buildings on Vancouver Island University’s (VIU’s) Nanaimo Campus.  

Over the past two years, the Imagine VIU campaign raised $7.3 million – over and above the campaign’s initial goal of $5.5 million – to help create cutting-edge learning environments for students in the new facilities. Since their opening in 2018, the Dr. Ralph Nilson Centre for Health and Science, the Windsor Plywood Trades Discovery Centre and the District Geo-Exchange Energy System have transformed the experiences of students and faculty alike.  

“We are delighted by the support for VIU’s most ambitious fundraising campaign to date and are grateful to our community who have allowed us to dream. Each donor should know that they have made a difference in the lives of our students,” says Dr. Deb Saucier, VIU President and Vice-Chancellor. “Imagine VIU has enabled us to expand opportunities for students and faculty to realize their potential. Exciting things are happening at VIU.”

The campaign raised $2 million for new scholarships, awards and bursaries for students. Another million was raised for new equipment and other program supports in the trades, sciences and health-care areas. More than $1 million went to new research projects. 

“I would love to go to med school and become a paediatric neurologist. Going to a place that has a very strong chemistry program is really important to me and the fact that VIU has this building was an important factor for me coming here,” says Bachelor of Science student Katrin Hanneson. “The labs here are great and all the technology we have is so cool.” 

The new buildings have also helped VIU respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new Trades Discovery Centre, alongside the other new facilities, is allowing for physically distanced, hands-on training opportunities for students.  

The state-of-the-art labs in the new Centre for Health and Science enabled VIU to become a designated manufacturing site for topical hand sanitizer. It also houses the Applied Environmental Research Laboratories (AERL), which focus on measuring the chemical determinants of environmental and human health. Researchers in the AERL help to save lives affected by the opioid crisis, while others work to detect chemical spills in bodies of water quickly.   

“Moving to the Centre for Health and Science has been a huge opportunity for me in the AERL,” says Joseph Monaghan, a VIU Bachelor of Science alumnus and PhD student at the University of Victoria, who conducts his thesis research in the lab. “The improved infrastructure has let us work faster, more safely and gives accessibility to more students. VIU and the AERL really give undergraduate students an unparalleled research experience in terms of access to infrastructure and supportive faculty members.” 

On top of an enhanced student experience, the District Geo-Exchange Energy System has allowed VIU to become a green technology frontrunner. The system has reduced energy needs at the Centre for Health and Science by 75%, helping the building achieve LEED Gold certification. 

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Jenn McGarrigle, External Communications Advisor, Vancouver Island University

C: 250.619.6860 | E: | T: @VIUNews

Tags: Community Engagement | VIU alumni | VIU Foundation | Announcements

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