Laurentian University students unveiled a new sculpture Wednesday that represents their commitment to environmental sustainability and recovery for the university, which has faced numerous challenges since filing for bankruptcy in 2021.
“To me, this event shows the importance of environmental sustainability on campus,” said Avery Morin, president of Laurentians’ Students General Association, which co-hosted the unveiling.
“There are programs that no longer exist, but our school is still committed to environmental sustainability.”
In April 2021, Laurentian filed for bankruptcy, cutting 69 programs. The Sudbury, Ont., university’s School of the Environment was among those killed by those cuts.
Matthew Rennie, a third-year restoration biology student at Laurentian, said it’s nice to see such a symbolic commitment to the environment and restoration at Laurentian.
Rennie is also a member of the university’s environmental committee, which co-hosted the event.
He said his program was canceled last year due to cuts, but he and another student were able to finish their studies at Laurentian.
“We’re allowed to stay, we’ll stick it out,” he said.
“Hopefully Laurentian will come up with an idea to bring back some environmental (programs).”
John Gunn, director of Laurentians’ Living with Lakes Center, said the new sculpture is a turning point for the university.
“After the financial collapse and all the covid issues we’ve had, students are taking matters into their own hands and they’re inventing a picture for the future,” he said.
“And that’s a beautiful new logo of a tree, pushing up through the rock, very symbolic of renewal and Northern Ontario.”
Gunn said he hopes for a bright future for environmental studies at Laurentian, which builds on the city’s legacy of revitalization.
The unveiling of the sculpture included video addresses by author Margaret Atwood, students and designer Bruce Maui.
Maui Laurentians will work with McEwen School of Architecture students to create a lookout pavilion and updated arboretum near the sculpture.
They serve as places to look out onto nearby Ramsey Lake and take convocation photos for graduating students.
“We’re very excited to create something that will truly become a learning space that will spread knowledge about what we’ve done to allow more to happen,” said Tammy Gaber, director of the McEwen School. Architecture.