As 2023 draws to a close we are presented with the opportunity to look back on a year of accomplishments. . None of these accomplishments would be possible without the visionary commitment of our donors, generosity of event sponsors, and support of the volunteer Board of Directors, all of whom enable the continued development of educational endeavors that inspire thought leadership and learning for life.
2023 in Review
2023 presented an opportunity to strengthen and grow new relationships with post-secondary education partners. The Whistler Institute continued to collaborate with BCIT on educational offerings in the Sea to Sky Corridor including a Drone Applications for Environmental Risk Assessment micro credential with tuition fees waived and a free drone for every participant. The May course was filled by local community members and so popular BCIT held a waitlist and ran it again in fall in the lower mainland.
Over the summer the Whistler Institute applied to the Provincial Government to offer a fully subsidized ECE program in partnership with Sprott Shaw College to help alleviate the childcare worker shortage and allow parents to return to work. This application (currently pending) was accompanied by 19 letters of support from stakeholders and community members between Squamish and Mount Currie and the Sunshine Coast.
The fall saw the Whistler Institute embark on a pilot partnership with BCIT and Whistler Chamber of Commerce to offer 2 accredited courses as part of the Whistler Experience and Spirit program to provide professional development opportunities to the business community. The Whistler Institute added value by identifying and eliminating financial barriers to participation for Whistler’s international workforce who have yet to secure their permanent residency.
The Resort Housing event in the spring presented an opportunity to collaborate with Capilano University faculty and students on an interdisciplinary course to explore affordable housing solutions. This relationship was formalized in October with a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to increase opportunities for residents and visitors to access educational programs in Whistler.
2023 also saw the Whistler Institute host three Global Perspectives speaker series events.
Kicking off the year, ‘A Roof Over Our Heads: Exploring Mountain Resort Housing Possibilities’, was hosted in partnership with Canada West Ski Areas Association in April. An in-person audience of over 200 people heard from 2 panels of industry experts who discussed how Whistler is working to address housing challenges before expanding the lens to explore housing examples from across North America to give insight into resort housing models and solutions. Housing a local workforce continues to be among the most pressing matters facing mountain resort towns today, this event explored ideas that attendees could take back to their own communities to explore in more detail.
The April event was followed by 2 Fall events, in September the Whistler Institute hosted ‘Canada, The Asian Century, And What Comes Next’. Paul Evans, Professor Emeritus in the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia brought over 40 years of focus on China and its Asian neighborhood while discussing China’s rise as a global power and the economic challenges and opportunities this change presents for Canada and the USA.
A month later in October the Whistler Institute hosted ‘Higher Education: The Next Paradigm’. during which President and vice-chancellor of Capilano University Paul Dangerfield spoke about how the landscape for higher education is changing while sharing what Capilano University is doing to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future. Paul also touched on the future of the newly acquired Squamish Campus.
The new MOU with Capilano University has already generated a plan to undertake a needs assessment for education in Whistler in early 2024, the results of the research will inform future programming decisions. This is an exciting time for the Whistler Institute as it starts to expand educational programming in the region. The Global Perspectives Speaker Series will continue to grow with 4 events planned for 2024, The first two spring events will convene industry experts to explore concussions in sport and the future of healthcare.
The Whistler Institute continues to nurture relationships with Vancouver Community College to offer ITA Culinary Cook Programs and BCIT to offer Business, Leadership, and Indigenous and Intercultural Awareness Programming to have a direct impact locally.
The Whistler Institute continues to play a vital role in improving quality of life for all through local education. Looking to the future the Whistler Institute is focused on its long-term fundraising efforts and building upon the community of supporters that makes our important work possible. We look forward to a bright and prosperous 2024.
Wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday season.