In 2005, I graduated from the Renaissance College faculty at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. When I started the program in 2002, this undergraduate interdisciplinary leadership program was only 3 years old and didn’t yet have any graduates. I crossed my fingers and took the leap. I was lucky to get accepted to a small class of just 15 – which turned into just 9 graduates (some of my favourite people in the world to this day).
Some of the highlights of my education:
- Canadian internship working for Intergovernmental and International Relations, Government of New Brunswick
- Community leadership project shadowing a woman who ran one of Fredericton’s most heartening senior’s residences
- International internships in both Japan and Thailand
- Tough public policy projects on anything from the fisheries industry to land disputes
- Worldview classes and visits to several different places of worship
- Some of the best book discussions/debates found on earth
- A cross-years project on wealth (which reshaped my whole perspective on money, wealth, quality of life, etc)
- Profs/instructors who inspired, classmates who challenged and so much laughter among all
- Being able to integrate my other Majors (Psych and International Development Studies) into some of the complex problem-solving projects we were given
(Above pics from Thailand)
For the 15 year anniversary, and during UNB’s homecoming celebration, the faculty of Renaissance College invited the students and faculty from all years to return. You can imagine that a leadership faculty would attract a certain array of colourful thinkers and indeed it has. Although no one else from my grad year was able to attend (I missed you guys!), I was delighted to meet so many other movers and shakers – people involved in community transformation, the health sector, law, government, entrepreneurship, arts, etc.
Highlights from the reunion:
A coffee house where anyone could share any of their talents. And my gosh, there was some great talent! The hosts also reworked some popular songs into Renaissance College tributes by cleverly changing the lyrics.
Jackson shared a joke and I performed a song (Dance if you want to by Rose Cousins) on guitar. It was my first live audience! Thanks for being a warm audience.
We did a bus trip out to Jemseg to visit Jemseg River Farm. It is an incredible farm that started out of discussions in class many years ago. Mike Carr, a former student and instructor at Renaissance College has taken the lead on making this dream come true. He works with Gerry Clarke (a former professor for citizenship class) and a few apprentices to run the farm. Mike is featured in the photo above holding the carrot. The farm sells produce at the Boyce Farmer’s Market in Fredericton. Learn more about the farm here
My friend Juliane joined me for the day trip and since she works selling the produce at the market each week, she was pleased to see where it comes from. Great vegetable model!
Final brunch with former dean Pierre Zundel (now President of the University of Sudbury) and other students Carolyn, Jeremy and Katie.
Thanks to the organizers!
Learn more about Renaissance College leadership program here