Acadia University, Wolfville
By Wendy Elliott
With 3,500 students at Acadia University in Wolfville, there are many interactions between town and gown – some negative and others positive.
Recently, senior residence assistants on the campus repeated what they call the Living Campaign. This program provides opportunities to engage students in responsible, healthy, and community living, according to student Jaimie Langille. Earlier this month, the second year of the project turned into an Amazing Race.
“This year to bring awareness to the campaign,” Langille said, “we decided to have a large event that would engage the students in the three components of living focused in campaign: responsible, healthy, and community living.”
Teams of students signed up to race around Acadia and Wolfville completing tasks or “road blocks” to get clues leading them to the next obstacle.
“In the end, the team that completed all of the road blocks the quickest was deemed the winner of the Amazing Race,” Langille said.
RCMP community policing officer Const. Blair MacMurtery was involved with a responsible living road block. Langille said the object was to show the students there are always consequences for their actions, on and off campus.
“We were focusing on the consequences they would face once they step off campus and what they face in the real world. To make it more like 'Amazing Race,’ the teams were given a question about the repercussions of a certain act (such as possession of open alcohol, public intoxication, or possession of illegal drugs.”
Students had to find MacMurtery as he was wandering around downtown Wolfville and retrieve the answer.
Other challenges including putting a condom on a banana, ranking seven common cereals in terms of sugar content, making a card and giving it to a community member and signing a large thank you card created for the Wolfville Fire Department.
James Sanford, director of student affairs, said there are all kinds of interactions between the Acadia and Wolfville communities and “there are a lot more positive than negative.”
He called the Amazing Race an opportunity to pass on information and see the community in a different way.
“We have some incredible young student leaders,” Sanford commented. “The residence staff really engage the students in what’s going on.”
In September, he recalled being struck with a line up of more than 400 students ready to volunteer at the first meeting of the SMILE program.
“It was unbelievable,” Sanford said, “there were 463 of them.”
In Sanford’s mind, that kind of response offsets the noise and disruption of activities like Song Night held by the Eaton/Christopher residences at the Irving Centre gardens. Residents of Westwood Avenue voiced objections to the lyrics and loudness recently.