Hope and resilience: Why our communities and workplaces need Georgian grads
October 07, 2020

Opinion by Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes, President and CEO

With Thanksgiving weekend just around the corner, I’ve been reflecting on what an extraordinary seven months it has been for Georgian students, employees and our extended college family. I’ve always been proud to be Georgian’s president and that pride has only deepened during this challenging time. The entire college community has shown tremendous perseverance and collective resolve as we continue to adapt to our new teaching, learning and working reality and navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is also evident to me that now, more than ever, we need Georgian graduates. We face one of the most significant global health and economic challenges in more than a century – with far-reaching implications we have yet to comprehend. We need graduates not only as innovators, skilled workers and professionals who will play a vital role in the resurgence and growth of our economy, but as citizens who will work to improve and strengthen our communities.

Georgian graduates will be the resilient leaders who define and influence a better future for us all. These changemakers offer our world immense hope – hope for a more just society, hope for creating flourishing businesses and workplaces, hope for a stronger, safer, and healthier planet. I’m confident of this because I’ve seen firsthand what Georgian students are capable of during this pandemic.

Many students quickly learned what might be the ultimate lesson in the classroom of life: things don’t often go as planned. What matters is how we respond and the mindset we choose to adopt.

They’ve had an opportunity to put into practice skills we know today’s employers are looking for – ones like empathy, creativity, innovative thinking and problem solving. They’ve shown up for themselves and each other, even on difficult days, reminding me and everyone else around them that we really are stronger together.

Early on in the pandemic, students were among Georgian’s research and innovation teams that heeded the call for help from our health-care partners and manufactured temporary face shields. They also collaborated with Orillia-based Kubota Materials Canada Corporation to put its two 3D printers to use to produce and supply parts for masks and face shields.

Since then, Georgian students have continued to support industry and community remotely through various projects – everything from developing a robot cell to help a company expand its product line, to conducting a deep statistical study full of insights into a local business’ marketing approach.

Our students worked in tandem with staff to plant and harvest a community garden at the Barrie Campus. Hundreds of kilograms of food were donated to local charities as a result.

We need Georgian grads: Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes, President and CEO, in Peter B. Moore Advanced Technology Centre in yellow top and navy suit with red and yellow stripes, on an orange chair

More recently, Georgian announced students will be part of two Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada applied research grant projects that aim to benefit health-care workers during COVID-19 through a partnership with Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care. Our health-care workers have been absolute heroes during COVID-19 and this $150,000 in research funding will help us understand and help to address their needs moving forward.

I could go on, but these are just a few examples of how, despite the circumstances, our students have stood up as leaders and shown us there can be a brighter tomorrow. Thank you to our community, industry and government partners for providing them with ongoing, generous support.

This month, almost 2,000 students across all Georgian programs join our alumni family of more than 85,000 graduates. They’ve proven earning a credential during a global pandemic is possible – that getting up, standing tall and pushing forward is possible, even in the face incredible uncertainty.

These graduates will be part of our recovery and solutions for whatever challenges we face next. We need them. You need them. Our workplaces and communities need them.

On behalf of the Georgian community, I wish you and your loved ones a healthy fall season.

Be safe, stay well, choose kindness and, like our students, share hope.