#VIUSpidey Brings Halloween and Happiness to Quiet Campus


Kevin Winiski, Jason Nesbitt, Laura Landry (kneeling), “Spidey”, Craig Hanson and Mark Egan demonstrate proper physical distancing in front of the newly installed #VIUSpidey. Team members donated their time and resources to create this Halloween design on the Nanaimo campus.

October 28, 2020 - 8:30am

Any little thing that can lift spirits and help people feel connected is important right now. That belief was the driving force behind the 12-foot spider in its web that is currently perched on top of Building 120 at the bottom of the Nanaimo Campus, just off Fourth Street.

It is a labour of love, done entirely by volunteers in Facilities Services and Campus Development who donated their time and resources to make it a reality.

“We’re a support department, which means that while our desire to serve our students drives our work, we don’t actually interact with them very much and we wanted to do something to connect with them,” explains Laura Landry, Campus Development and Finance Assistant. “We came up with this idea a while ago, well before the pandemic, and this year, we had the time to make it a reality.”

Landry acknowledges that the usual student population is not on the Nanaimo campus, which she thinks makes doing things for the students who are there all the more important.

“There are less people living in residence, less students around campus, which must make it harder for those who are here, so we’re hoping this fun Halloween installation will help brighten up their day and get them into the Halloween spirit,” she says. “It’s also a nice thing for employees, of course. It’s been a hard year for everyone, and everyone can use a little extra fun.”

Landry is clear. The project is a gift to the VIU community from everyone in Facilities Services and Campus Development. It was a group project, utilizing the ideas, resources and expertise from a bunch of different people in the department.

The core group was made up of:

  • Mark Egan, Security Manager
  • Jason Nesbitt, Shipper/Receiver Distribution Clerk
  • Craig Hanson, Facilities Planner/Developer
  • Kevin Winiski, Project Manager/Planner
  • Laura Landry, Campus Development and Finance Assistant

It was truly a departmental effort, which would not have been possible without support from Burke Gulbranson, Interim Associate Director, Facilities Services, Drew Taylor, Interim Associate Director, Campus Development and Richard Lewis, Interim Associate Vice President, Facilities and Ancillary Services.

The spider was built after work and on weekends. It also hasn’t cost VIU very much money. Department members purchased and donated the supplies out of their own pocket, or salvaged some of the materials, such as the wood, from VIU development projects.

“We know it’s a hard time financially and we wanted to ensure this project didn’t cut into work or use money that could go to something more urgent or necessary,” Landry explains.

Now that the spider is up, Facility Services and Campus Development are encouraging people who are on campus already to stop by and take a physically distanced picture with the spider. If you post your photo to VIU’s Facebook page or Keeping Connected VIU on Facebook or send your photo to Alyson.Winks@viu.ca, you will be entered into a draw just for photos with the spider, as well as the larger Halloween photo contest draw. Be sure to use the hashtag #VIUSpidey.

Into the Future

Landry says this is just the beginning of an installation that will grow with the years. Each Halloween, another part will be added.

Tags: In the Community

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