City of Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark has been a strong supporter of the University of Saskatchewan. (Photo: Submitted)

Championing city-campus collaboration

University of Saskatchewan (USask) President Peter Stoicheff is a firm believer that great cities deserve and need great universities.

City of Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark clearly shares that conviction.

The city and the university are continuing to build closer connections and collaborations following the president and the mayor’s 2018 signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that was truly unique in the country.

“We were the first city to sign an MOU with our local university as a partner that lays out infrastructure planning, land use planning, research projects, environmental protection goals, reconciliation—on all these different dimensions—with practical steps that we can take to work together,” said Clark. “We are talking about where we are at and what our future is together.”

The City of Saskatoon-USask MOU followed on the heels of similar agreements signed by the university with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra and the Remai Modern museum, both also the first of its kind in the country.

The strong relationship between the city and the university has resulted in a number of collaborations, from leading-edge research on brain wave activity during symphony performances, to the city contributing $4-million in funding for the university’s new Merlis Belsher Place facility that now annually provides 1,500 hours of much-needed ice time for local minor hockey teams. The city and university are also currently working together on land development and urban planning proposals, including strategic infill on university endowment lands.

“The MOU came out of the recognition that on all of these dimensions there is a chance for us to work more closely together for our mutual benefit and for the benefit of our citizens, so that made it very compelling and clear that while our partnership has been strong, there is a lot of room for it to become stronger,” said Clark, who has been an avid supporter of USask since entering civic politics in 2006. “Now that the conversation is going, I think we need to be able to show the outcomes very clearly and hold ourselves to account and make sure that it becomes tangible. If those relationships form and people see the shared opportunity, I think we are going to have tremendous outcomes together.”

For Clark, what’s good for the university is good for the city, with the students of today becoming the city’s leaders of tomorrow.

“The more students who bring their talents to the university and become part of our entrepreneurial community and part of our business and non-profit sectors and build lives here, that’s good for everybody,” said Clark.

The University the World Needs

People of the plan

The University of Saskatchewan’s new seven-year plan through to 2025 is titled The University the World Needs and has been gifted the Indigenous names nīkānītān manācihitowinihk (Cree) and ni manachīhitoonaan (Michif), which translate to “Let us lead with respect.” In each issue of On Campus News in 2019, we will take a look at the 12 major goals of the new plan by profiling individuals involved in the university’s commitment to Courageous Curiosity, Boundless Collaboration and Inspired Communities. 

Share this story