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Looking back on NAIT 2017

Sitting area in NAIT CAT building

This past year was a huge year for news, both on and off campus. Here are some of the most memorable at NAIT this year:

  • February 6: A student falls from the fifth floor of the CAT Building.
  • February 10: A fire in the G-Wing causes $6.3 million in damage, shutting down the area until the summer. Over 32 courses were affected.
  • February 10-16: Students went to the polls to vote in the U-Pass referendum, which students overwhelmingly voted to keep. Also, NAITSA’s 2017-18 Executive Council was finalized, seeing Doris Car win as President, Brenda Needham as VP Academic, Calli-Rae Barker as VP Student Services, and Naomi Pela as VP External.
  • March: Amanda Cohen, owner of restaurant Dirt Candy in New York, and former competitor on Iron Chef America is NAIT’s 2017 Chef-in-Residence.
  • March: NAIT announces its increasing international students tuition due to the increasing cost of delivering the programs. For some students it included a 24 per cent increase.
  • March 6: NAIT celebrates Pride Week, including the Pride Walk throughout campus.
  • March 15-18: NAIT hosts the 2017 CCAA Women’s Basketball Nationals. The women finished fourth, losing in the bronze medal match to the Humber Hawks 72-48, a reversal from Nationals the year before. Lethbridge won the tournament.
  • March 23: Mariam Djibril is crowned NAITSA’s Next Top Model.
  • April: NAIT announces 3,100 apprenticeship seats will be cut for the 2017-18 school year, also terminating 60 positions across 13 different programs.
  • April 7: NAIT’s third Long Night Against Procrastination sees around 140 students participating in the studying and assignment driven event at the library.
  • April 7: NAIT Athletics hosts their annual awards ceremony. Soccer star Kassy Jajczay wins female Athlete of the Year and Californian netminder Brendan Jensen wins male Athlete of the Year. Also, a retirement presentation for Athletics Manager Gregg Meropoulis is held for the near 40 year member of Athletics.
  • April 28: Athletic Director Linda Henderson leaves NAIT for Olds College. In her 10-year reign, NAIT wins 18 national championships and over 80 provincial medals.
  • May 12: NAIT Alumnus Ashif Mawji makes a record donation of $1-million to NAIT to help establish the Mawji Centre for New Venture and Student Entrepreneurship.
  • Aug 1: John Bower, newly hired Athletic Director, begins work at NAIT. Bower worked previously at Concordia University in Montreal and also is the grandson of famous goaltender and hockey Hall-of-Famer Johnny Bower.
  • September: The provincial government announced that NAIT will be allocated $495,000 over the next three years for mental health initiatives.
  • September 15: Country artist Tim Hicks headlines Nest Fest at the CAT quad. Other acts include Edmonton band Royal Tusk, The Boom Booms, and the Be Easy’s. The late John Dunsworth performed as Jim Lahey hosting with his sidekick Randy.
  • September 27 : The NAITrium does an official reopening with a fresh and minimalistic new look.
  • October: NAIT announces a new drill rig operator program that will begin Jan. 22. The foundation drill rig operator’s course is the first of its kind in North America.
  • October 6: International students enjoy a Canadian Thanksgiving at the Bytes Cafe.
  • October 11: Students senators are announced after elections with four vacant seats.
  • October 15-18: Three NAIT students compete in WorldSkills competition in Abu Dhabi. Ryley LaFrance, Aaron Taves, and Ryan Matsuba competed in Industrial Control, Auto Service, and Refrigeration and Air Conditioning.
  • November: The NAIT it Forward campaign, which raises money for student scholarships and student services, raised over $100,000 and saw over 30% of staff participate in the function.
  • November 2: NAIT hosts its second annual Research Symposium at the Shaw Theatre, discussing future energy, digital economies, and natural resources.
  • November 12: The women’s soccer team finishes fourth in 2017 CCAA Nationals; the men finish sixth.
  • November 14: The Mawji Centre, dedicated to helping NAIT students in the New Venture and Student Entrepreneurship, officially opens in the CAT Building.
  • November 30: Electrical engineering students sound the alarm on scheduling controversy with NAIT.
  • December: An additional 2,000 apprenticeship seats are cut causing 40 full-time job losses.
  • December 9: The men’s hockey team played the U of A Golden Bears at Northlands Coliseum in Faceoff 2017. The game was a charity event with 20 per cent of the ticket revenue going to the Stollery Children’s Hospital.

– Michael Menzies, Senior Editor

– Photo via NAIT

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