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Learning in community: Grenfell graduate students visit Port Saunders

Last month, students from Grenfell Campus, Memorial University were invited to spend  time in Port Saunders through the Port Saunders Community Learning Project. Hosted in the newly established E-Learning Hub, the Community Learning Project was comprised of a series of interactive cultural and creative workshops. 

Graduate students from the masters in science-boreal ecosystems and agricultural sciences (BEAS), master of arts- environmental policy (MAEP), and Ph.D. -transdisciplinary sustainability (TRSU) programs were invited to attend two days of the full six-day event.

"It was an amazing opportunity for me to experience a new culture," said BEAS student Kamsika Jeyarasa. "By the end of the trip, I learned more about their history. It gave me great relief, especially during this stressful pandemic situation."

This collaborative initiative brought members of the Grenfell Campus and Port Saunders communities together to share knowledge and engage with one another. Students contributed their experience through workshops on grant writing and the Pomodoro technique, a timed writing method meant to encourage productivity. In turn, they learned about the history and culture of the Igornachoix region through Talking Stick and Medicine Bag workshops, a presentation by the NorPen Status of Women Council, and a guided hike at the Port Aux Choix National Historic Site. Members of the Port Saunders community also prepared home-cooked meals for the event, showcasing some of the local cuisine.

"I felt so welcome," said TRSU student Leanna Butters. "It was wonderful to learn about this region from the people who live here and love this place."

Speaking about his time in Port Saunders, MAEP student Elmaddin Bayramov said it was a memorable experience. "The Community Learning Workshop in Port Saunders was a unique opportunity to learn about grant writing and a specific writing technique called "Pomodoro", the culture of the local community, and to get familiar with the work of the NorPen Status of Women Council. It was also great to step off the beaten track of my daily routine, come together with some of the students from Grenfell, whom I had not seen for a long time due to Covid-19, and have a great time with them. But it was about more than that. I had such a blast talking to local people, experiencing their hospitality, observing their close and warm relationships with with each other, and getting to know the role of their traditions and culture in their daily life."

Caption: Grenfell Campus graduate students and staff stand in front of the Port Riche Lighthouse in Port Au Choix National Historic Site of Canada.

Story by: Leanna Butters

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