This text is part of the Philanthropy special
With a major fundraiser, the Université de Sherbrooke wants to invest in teaching that integrates the principles of sustainable development, practical and interdisciplinary work, innovative pedagogy and new technologies more closely.
“Our mission as a university is to advance and pass on knowledge,” says Pierre Cossette, Rector of the Université de Sherbrooke (UdeS). Our students are at the heart of our teaching, but also of our research and innovation activities and our transfer to society of all kinds. Ultimately, our goal is to educate citizens who change the world and to find breakthroughs that transform society’s lives for the better change. With our fundraising campaign, we want to give ourselves the means to carry out very specific projects. »
The university’s efforts are focused on major axes. The institution is very active in research in the fields of quantum science and microelectronics and aims to ensure that technological change is always at the service of people and society. She also wants to make the areas of sustainable development and climate change more present in her training programs.
UdeS also focuses on coexistence and the appreciation of diversity, involving more people from different backgrounds in its activities or involving older people better in research, and ensuring that care and health services are prioritized in terms of autonomy and accountability . This could make it possible, for example, to better equip health workers to be better equipped to face the challenges of an aging population and to allow for as long autonomy as possible.
The university’s projects aimed at achieving these great goals are numerous. Among other things, the UdeS wants to create a research chair for women entrepreneurs, which could make it possible to close the knowledge gaps around the obstacles faced by women who want to become entrepreneurs.
“Another project [que l’on a], these are the living labs, explains Mr. Cossette. We are building a complex of high-performance greenhouses at the university. We also own part of the Parc du Mont-Bellevue which we are converting into a nature reserve and we co-own an eco-forest park with Bishop’s University. We say to ourselves: How can we use this? We need a little more infrastructure so that our students can use it as a learning environment in a wide variety of areas. »
One of the university’s flagship projects is the creation of a new infrastructure, the inauguration of which is planned for 2028: an innovative learning pavilion. This new space would not be divided into rooms with tables and chairs; Rather, it would be designed to facilitate student-led projects from different disciplines in partnership with the community and new technological tools.
“We want lawyers to work alongside social workers to practice with vulnerable people,” explains Mr. Cossette, referring to examples of interdisciplinary work that are representative of the needs of the labor market in which students need to be trained. We integrate many technological elements to further advance learning and interdisciplinarity. »
Sustainable development at the heart of the future of UdeS
The project benefits from the support of businessman and philanthropist Vincent Chiara. However, the university continues to work to attract more donors and investors to fund the project, which is estimated to cost $75 million.
“The big vision we have is that we recognize UdeS graduates as eco-citizens who can contribute and understand how things should be done,” Pierre Cossette wishes. The goals of sustainable development were already part of the visor of the UdeS, which has adapted its waste management, mobility projects and measures to reduce greenhouse gases accordingly. But in recent months, the establishment has been stepping on the accelerator.
The university has therefore launched the project on integrating sustainable development into education to support teachers in integrating sustainable development concepts into the courses and programs of various faculties.
“This enables a systemic view of the issues. Too often in silos we have a vision, we see the tree and we don’t see the forest,” comments Jean-François Comeau, director of the project to integrate sustainable development into training. According to him, it is important for students to acquire these applied and holistic approaches and to consider the different social and environmental facets of the projects.
“It is very meaningful. The university wants to provide its students with even better education, he says. The aim of all this is to contribute to a better society. As an employee, it makes me proud that the university takes this seriously. »
The Role of Philanthropy
“We have many initiatives, we are looking for levers and partners who will help us,” continues Mr. Cossette. The fundraising campaign will allow us to leverage with other collaborators, whether they are government, semi-government, civil society, or private companies. »
For potential donors, Pierre Cossette emphasizes that the contribution of planned donations to a university should not be underestimated. Proposed gifts include gifts of publicly traded securities, gifts of life insurance, and legacies. “Planned donations can make a very big difference for an institution in the long term,” says the rector of the UdeS. By scheduling a donation around their estate, we enable them to contribute to these causes after they leave. »
The university will launch its Big Fundraiser to launch a series of projects affecting its eight faculties. The Grand Campaign will start internally on November 16th and externally on May 5th, 2023.
This year, the honorary co-presidents of the next Great Campaign are Matthew Cassar, co-founder and president of cloud computing company Sherweb; Karinne Bouchard, corporate director and board member of Alimentation Couche-Tard; Monique Leroux, corporate director and senior advisor at Fiera Capital; and Julie Godin, co-chair of the board, executive vice-president, strategic planning and development of CGI, a leading provider of information technology and business process management services.
The synergetic potential of donations
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