Earlier this month thousands of young women and men arrived in Lethbridge, ready to begin another year of studies at our college and university.
In a city our size, their return is highly visible. Our stores, sports facilities, restaurants and bars — and particularly, our transit system — are suddenly busy after a lazy summer.
Even so, city residents might take our post-secondary campuses for granted. After all, they’ve been part of Lethbridge for 50 years and more.
But that could be hard to do this year. Officials at both campuses are inviting everyone to come by, see what’s happening — and have a little fun.
On Saturday at Lethbridge College, they offered music, food trucks, local vendors, a beer garden and a series of soft-sell “program showcases” highlighting the depth and diversity of our college’s many areas of expertise.
The University of Lethbridge just celebrated the opening of its long-awaited Science Commons, described as the most significant event since University Hall itself welcomed its first students. It presented an opportunity learn much more about our university while enjoying entertaining presentations and a look at the spanking new facility.
What visitors should also take away from that, however, is that both places of higher learning are open to the public all through the year — not just a weekend in September. Indeed, the Science Commons was designed to provide space for high school students and others to meet and learn from science students in their field of interest, right through the school year.
Needless to say, the university always welcomes the public to concerts, theatre performances, art exhibitions, basketball tilts, athletic competitions, swim meets . . . the list goes on. What’s more, its James Penny Building downtown hosts art shows, public meetings, receptions and other events as well.
Much the same is true at Lethbridge College, where local residents use squash courts, fitness facilities — and enjoy student chefs’ creations — as well as joining students for public events through the year. Saturday, for example, the college hosted Coulee Fest, providing a prime opportunity for southern Albertans to visit their college while taking part in high-energy production that adds sparkle and fun to our city at the end of a summer filled with many outdoor festivals and events.
These events may also remind us of the healthy economic impact both institutions have on our community, as well as the many spin-off technologies and businesses. More important still, they should remind southern Albertans of the massive cultural contributions — in every sense of the word — that their professors, scientists and instructors bring to our city.
Event organizers at our college and university deserve our thanks for this weekend’s events. Let’s hope they’re able to continue hosting these large-scale celebrations for an appreciative public.