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Work to be done

Work to be done

It’s time to roll up our sleeves and begin the work of building an inclusive campus community

Earlier this year, the Times Higher Education (THE) placed Queen’s University first in Canada and fifth in the world in its Impact Rankings – a global ranking of universities that are advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within and beyond their local communities. Having Queen’s ranked at the very top reflects past accomplishments to be celebrated and proud of, however, it also sets a high bar for us moving forward. As we consider the impact Queen’s has and can have in the world, I encourage the university to focus on its impact in the communities around us, namely those who were here first and whose land we live, work, and play on.

Looking first at the broader Queen’s community, the appointment of The Honourable Murray Sinclair as our 15th Chancellor is cause for celebration. Chancellor Sinclair’s past work and values have already shaped our country, and we are privileged to count on His Honour’s leadership as we continue to shape and transform the university. We are also seeing the recommendations outlined by the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force being brought to action.

From a personal perspective, participating as a member of the Law School’s Building Name Consultation Advisory Committee last year gave me insight into the experiences of Indigenous students at Queen’s, the need for increased education and awareness around Indigenous issues, and increased Indigenization efforts across all areas of the university – its spaces, processes, curricula, and beyond. With other groups across Queen’s, the QUAA board of directors is doubling down on efforts to support Indigenous communities. In addition to engaging various governance bodies of the university in this important dialogue and working with the Indigenous Alumni Chapter to amplify Indigenous voices, we are looking at ways to support alumni volunteer leaders in bringing these discussions to their respective communities.

As a recent immigrant to Canada myself, continuing to learn and reflect better positions me to contribute to Indigenization efforts on an individual level through seemingly small but impactful actions, such as donating funds that support Indigenous students and initiatives at Queen’s. Or, in a broader sense, learning more about land acknowledgments and their purpose, so I can integrate them into my daily work and life with intention.

I hope you will join me as I quietly celebrate the progress that Queen’s has made toward Indigenization, while acknowledging the significant work that still needs to be done – individually, at Queen’s, nationally, and globally.

Rico Garcia, Artsci'13
Volunteer President, Queen's University Alumni Association

graphic of cover of Queen's Alumni Review, issue 2, 2021