USask College of Engineering opens centre that offers support to Indigenous students

Thanks to generous donations made to the College of Engineering, the brand new Indigenous Resource Centre can now offer support to aspiring Indigenous engineers.

By Carlee Snow
Dannielle Brewster

Thanks to generous donations made to the College of Engineering, the brand new Indigenous Resource Centre can now offer support to aspiring Indigenous engineers.

Dannielle Brewster is a third-year chemical engineering student at the University of Saskatchewan who is highly involved in her communities, both on campus and in La Ronge where she grew up. Brewster is a member of the Cross Lake Band, a Swampy Cree band in Northern Manitoba. Brewster knows all too well that making the transition to university can be difficult for students who come from northern Saskatchewan.

It can be isolating for some students who have never lived in a big city. They may experience a cultural shock when first arriving and seek support to make the transition. This is the reason the Indigenous Resource Centre opened in the College of Engineering.

The centre provides a dedicated space for students to connect and support each other, helping them build relationships and work towards achieving academic success. Brewster is one of the many students who has benefited from the Indigenous Resource Centre.

“This is what first-year Indigenous students need; it's hard coming from a small town. It is a little isolating, but here you can meet students similar to you, who can support you. Seeing other people makes you believe that you can do it and that there is support," she explained.

Brewster explained that in her first year, she was not involved with extra-curricular activities but because of the Indigenous Resource Centre, she was motivated to participate and develop a stronger sense of community. The centre aims to help students build relationships while working towards academic success. “I met a lot more people, and I felt like I was part of a group. I also did a lot better in my classes, and I started volunteering much more. I became much more involved through this and attended more events on campus and within the college,” she stated.

Brewster believes facilities like the Indigenous Resource Centre impacts students in ways that you wouldn’t expect—like increasing the number of visitors to the college and developing a strong community within the college. “The program personally made a huge impact on my life, and I have heard from fellow students in my program that they are really happy with it,” she stated.

The centre would not have been possible without donations from alumni and friends of the university to the ALL IN FOR STUDENTS campaign—an annual university-wide fundraising drive for student scholarships, bursaries and support systems.

Brewster was inspired by the people who helped make this centre a reality and is truly inspired by their generosity. "The university offers so many resources to students that when I graduate, I will have to give back."

Over $1.19M was raised during the ALL IN FOR STUDENTS campaign to support student scholarships, awards, and bursaries in the 2018-2019 school year. Read more about how the campaign made a major difference for students this past year in our student spotlight series:

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