14 Aug 14

No status quo in Kemptville

Change is difficult, particularly if you truly believe it will have a negative outcome. But change also provides opportunities for improvement. Take, for example, our education system. Although we, as Canadians, have a lot to be proud of when it comes to education, there are still those truly painful adjustments that happen. The planned closure of Kemptville Campus is a good example of how change can or can not undo a community as whole.
When announced back in March that the University of Guelph would be closing its doors and shutting down operations in 2015, a cry rippled through the region, let alone through the rural town in which it was based. It caused mayhem among students, alumni, families and the local farming sector and the industries supported by agriculture.
But out of that fire came a ‘phoenix like’ task force —  ready to step up and bring the college back. In six months the volunteer-based committee has begun the proverbial flight to bring it home. But after attending the a town hall meeting last month, this writer must ask: Is the campus worse off than they thought? Task Force member Howard Mains presented some unvarnished truths about the institution they are now trying to save — truths not really acknowledged by angry campus supporters when the closure announcement first came. The stark reality of dwindling enrolment at the school, for example, was brought into sharp focus by Mains, who unfavourably compared the most recent graduation numbers to those of his own class more than 30 years ago. A major overhaul is in the offing as part of any resurrection for the campus,   just as change is in the air for many post secondary institutions in a world of ever-changing realities and expectations.
Pamela Pearson and Nelson Zandbergen