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With alumni participants spanning every decade of Pearson’s existence, as well as parents and family members of current years 46 and 47 students and some of those very students, last Friday’s second-ever Global Village Update (GVU 2) virtual forums were hits.

“Well over 100 enthusiastic Pearson community members participated between the morning and afternoon session,” said Benoît Charlebois, Alumni and Community Engagement Director. “Alumni who participated represented 40 countries and we were also delighted that a number of former staff, including a former Head, took part in the sessions.”

Early on in the planning process, the decision was made to present two separate, but largely parallel content-wise, sessions on the same day, one early morning and another late afternoon Pacific Time. “With the potential of having participants from 24 time zones around the world, we want GVU forums to be accessible to as many people as possible,” added Charlebois.

Recordings of both 11 December sessions are also accessible on our newly created events page.

The main focus of last week’s sessions was to introduce and discuss the College’s new Indigenous Reconciliation Action Plan and Indigenous Vision. At nearly 70 pages in total, the Plan and Vision documents are comprehensive and detailed but candid overviews provided by Board member Kory Wilson (YR 14/1989) and alumna Christina Chakanyuka (Year 30/2006, Canada-NT), who was part of the Indigenous Advisory Council, helped introduce and contextualize how these are another step on the College’s journey of reconciliation.

Another highlight of the forums came from current students who described their unusual experience during pandemic times while anticipating the novelty of Pearson’s first-ever on-campus Winter Break. Students such as Racim and Giovanny, representing many students across campus, described the considerable planning and implementation of activities and events which will take place over the first two weeks (the third is intended as a refresh and study period) of the three-week break.

While most Winter Break events are planned for campus, some COVID-safe activities, such as winter camping and distanced, small-group biking and hiking, will support student mental and physical health.

With students essentially in a bubble for the entire school year, Charlebois encouraged those on the call to try out a new alumni-driven Winter Break Campus Care Initiative that will see alumni, family and friends from around the world share their virtual well-wishes with current students who will not be returning home for the Winter Break.