New sculpture at Laurentian University a sign of renewal, students say RS News

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Laurentian University students unveiled a new sculpture Wednesday that represents their commitment to environmental sustainability and renewal for the university, which has faced many challenges since it filed for insolvency in 2021.

“For me, this event means to show the importance of environmental sustainability on campus,” said Avery Morin, president of Laurentian’s Students’ General Association, which co-hosted the unveiling.

“There were programs that aren’t around anymore, but our school is still committed to environmental sustainability.”

In April 2021, Laurentian cut 69 programs due to its insolvency. The School of the Environment at Sudbury, Ont., University was among the casualties of the cuts.

Matthew Rennie, a third-year restoration biology student at Laurentian, said it’s nice to see the symbolic commitment to the environment and renewal at Laurentian.

Rennie is also a member of the university’s environmental committee, which co-hosted the event.

He said his program was canceled due to the cuts last year, but he and another student were able to finish their studies at Laurentian.

“We are allowed to stay, we want it out,” he said.

“Hopefully Laurentian will come up with an idea to bring some environmental (programs) back.”

John Gunn, the director of Laurentian’s Living with the Lakes Center, said the new sculpture comes at a turning point for the university.

A man is holding a glass of water and a muffin.
John Gunn, director of Laurentian’s Living with Lakes Center, holds a glass of water from Ramsey Lake and a muffin made with local blueberries, at an event unveiling a new sculpture on campus. (Ashishwang Contractor/CBC)

“After the financial collapse we had and all the COVID problems, the students are taking things into their own hands and they are unveiling a picture for the future,” he said.

“And this is a beautiful new logo of the tree pushing its way up through the rock, very symbolic of renewal and northern Ontario.”

Gunn said he hopes for a bright future for environmental studies in Laurentian that builds on the city’s legacy of regeneration.

The event to unveil the sculpture included video addresses from author Margaret Atwood, who congratulated the students and designer Bruce Mau.

Mau will work with students from Laurentian’s McEwen School of Architecture to design a lookout pavilion and updated arboretum located near the sculpture.

They will serve as places to look out to nearby Ramsey Lake, and for graduating students to take convocation photos.

“We’re very excited to design something that will really become a place of learning in a way that can spread the knowledge of what we’ve done to allow more to happen,” said Tommy Gaber, director of the McEwen School of Architecture.

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