It’s finally open! Trent University allows its students to unleash their potential with the grand opening of its student centre on September 27th, 2017. An event was held that evening open to all students and members of the Trent Community to reveal the pretty much finished product of the student centre. A week before the grand opening the centre’s main hall didn’t have floors, and now most of the building is finally accessible to students and faculty. The event included a private celebration to honour and thank all of the donors that made the vision of the student centre a reality. Speeches and the cutting of ribbons took place in the centre to celebrate the beginning of much potential and opportunity provided by the space. This was followed by a more public ceremony where all were welcome. President and vice-chancellor of the university Dr. Leo Groarke made the opening remarks to thank all those who attended and took part of the student centre’s formation. He acknowledged the land that the centre was built on the traditional territory of the Mississauga Anishinaabe, and a former chief had blessed the land before construction had begun, which had provided the building with a wonderful energy.

The $16 million project has been funded in a manner that represents the Trent way, an interactive community building a resource promoting education and innovation. In 2013, a levy was presented to all students in which they voted YES to contributing to the student centre, of which $10.5 million was funded – the reason the centre is said to be by the students and for the students. The remaining funds were from supporters and members of the community that wanted to see the university grow, and create more space for the increasing number of students attending Trent. Members of the board, faculty, staff and alumni were able to contribute $3.6 million, including $1 million from alumnus Stephen Stohn ’66.

Arthur had the honour of chatting with Stohn during the grand opening, in front of the 200-seat Stohn lecture hall, named after him. Members of the Arthur community have a soft spot for Stohn– alongside creating Degrassi, Stohn was the one who established Arthur newspaper when he attended Trent. He has repeatedly been asked, “Why wasn’t it called The Arthur?” Stohn responded, “Well, when Paul McCartney was asked what his haircut was called, he said “Arthur,” so that was it – just Arthur.” Stohn’s contribution of creativity and the creation of Arthur as a student reflects his generous donation towards the student centre – helping achieve growth and student space at Trent. First a newspaper, then a show, and now a student centre. Thank you Stephen.

Stohn wasn’t the only contributor to make the centre a possibility. The many donors and community members that helped achieve this triumph have been listed on a platform that can be found at the centre’s entrance by the alumni atrium. The atrium is named after a kind alumnus that made a huge donation and asked to remain anonymous, representing alumni that have given back to their university after the journey at Trent.

The centre has been a big step forward for the university. With the growing number of incoming students yearly, the centre aims at providing more student space. One of the major student organizations, the Trent Central Student Association (TCSA), will be moving there from its previous small location in Champlain College to assist students with the services they provide, as well as creating more space for clubs and groups including storage lockers! The Starbucks, with the anticipated long line up is now in service, and the student lounge area is yet to be furnished.

The building has been designed to maintain the authentic and historic Ron Thom architecture to reflect Trent’s layout and background. The glass walls and open concept of the student centre allow for a terrific view and welcoming feel, that incorporates beautifully with the surrounding nature and the Otonabee river. Once the centre is fully furnished, students and faculty will be able to make use of the space and resources that lack on other parts of campus, with the goal to enable members of the Trent community to unleash their potential. So what are you waiting for?