Vibrant space, new outlook

Student reflects on unique experiential learning opportunity at student newspaper

Wrapping up her second year at UPEI, Lorelei Kenny declared a double major in Philosophy and English with a minor in Catholic Studies -- she also successfully landed the position of Editor-in-Chief at The Cadre, the university's student-run news outlet which has been serving UPEI students for over fifty years.                                 

Although she wouldn’t officially begin her role until the fall semester, Lorelei was excited to breathe new life into the news outlet. She felt strongly that the office space in which she and the editorial team worked required T.L.C.

The walls and furniture look tired and worn, and the space didn’t give a sense of inspiration, with no defined workspace. So, she set out to refresh it and bring some vibrancy back.

“She brought a lot of energy and new ideas to the table and she was eager to get started when she accepted the position of Editor-in-Chief,” said William McGuigan, vice-president Finance of the UPEI Student Union and chair of The Cadre Board of Directors. “Although the position wouldn’t be on payroll until the fall semester, Lorelei volunteered a lot of her time between April and August to ensure the success of the project.”

Lorelei said the previous Editor-in-Chief started the process of assessing the space and the items it had collected over the years.

“Elizabeth Iwunwa was Editor-in-Chief when I worked as a Managing Editor for The Cadre, and she sorted through a lot of the worn and tired furniture that student reporters had accumulated over the years,”  says Lorelei, as she looked around at what was once a disorganized and clutter-filled office space.

Annual Fund breathes fresh air

While looking for a way to re-energize the space, Lorelei and her team discovered the  Annual Fund.

This fund, administered by the Department of Development and Alumni Engagementreceives unrestricted donations from generous alumni, friends, faculty and staff who are keen to invest in UPEI and its students. Redeveloping the offices of The Cadre was a good fit.

“When we learned about the Annual Fund Projects Program we submitted a proposal, attended a number of meetings, and then the office refresh was set in motion,” said Lorelei.

“It’s incredible to think that alumni, some of whom may have been Cadre reporters and editors, are now paying it forward. Their contributions to the annual fund allow for projects like this, keeping them connected to UPEI in a positive way.”

Before renovations

 

After renovations

 

Lorelei says the experience on a whole has been a wonderful learning opportunity outside of the classroom.

“From securing the funding, to working with different members invested in the project, and seeing it all come together, I’ve had the chance to hone important skills outside the classroom that I believe will serve me well wherever I may find myself,” she said.

Overall she feels it has been a unique experiential learning opportunity unlike anything she would have expected when enrolling at UPEI.

“Thinking back to the beginning–it was a bit overwhelming. At 19-years-old I had to meet with the Executive Director of a University department and the President of UPEI. I’m not sure why I was worried; they were very open to the vision I brought forward on behalf of all those involved in the project. Meeting with them afforded me the chance to learn from them, as they shared their thoughts, ideas, and experience.”

At the open-house celebration following the completion of the office refresh, UPEI President and Vice-Chancellor commended the hardwork and success of all those involved in the project.

“The Cadre is an important place for UPEI students to develop skills outside of the classroom. Our community is more connected thanks to the work undertaken by students in this office. The refresh of this space is spectacular; students can be proud to write, conduct interviews, and produce content in here.”

The Cadre was one of only two student newspapers from Atlantic Canada to be named as a finalist for a JHM Award, presented by the Canadian University Press (CUP) to recognize excellence in Canadian student journalism. Fourth-year student Nathan Hood was the author of the award-winning piece. With Lorelei taking advantage of an exchange opportunity between UPEI and the University of Malta, Nathan is taking up the role of Editor-in-Chief for the Winter 2017 semester.

“It’s somewhat bittersweet to leave for an exchange just after the project is complete, but I hope the refreshed space will attract students and encourage them to contact the new Editor-in-Chief. The Cadre is always looking for new voices to tell stories that inform and resonate with the UPEI community,” remarked Lorelei while sitting on one of the new sofas in the space.

“This position has helped me to see our campus in a different way; most people would be surprised by how many amazing things are happening at UPEI. Many of those things are chances and opportunities just waiting for UPEI students to take advantage of them–I really believe a university experience is what you make of it.”

 

 

 

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