From Principal Mark Vessey:
By coming to live here, you join a tradition of communal living on this site that stretches back with the Musqueam people to time out of mind, and in recent years has been carried on by Resident Members of Green College (“Greenies”) like you.
Not since 1993, when Green College opened its doors for the first time, have so many new Greenies arrived at once. Usually, around half the community is new in September. But because occupancy numbers fell last year as a result of the pandemic, this year’s arrivals outnumber continuing members by a factor of about 3:1.
What does that mean for us in practice?
Back lawn, Green College. Photo: Don Erhardt
First, it means that “old” Greenies cannot provide the same level of individual care and attention to new Greenies that they would in a normal year. So, if there are things that don’t immediately make sense to you, and if the ever-helpful staff in the College Office cannot assist you or are overwhelmed that day, you may have to muddle through on your own for a bit. We know you are the kind of people who can do that… because we have read your files.
Second, it means that the new Greenie cohort of 2021-22 will, subject to the limitations of public health rules, have even more scope to reinvent the College than their counterparts in the past. While certain things about the College are fixed—such as its architecture, its commitment to communal dining and hospitality, its co-operative ethos, its mandate for interdisciplinary studies and public engagement—what actually happens around here is highly dependent on the initiative-taking of Resident Members. Inevitably, some of your energies will be absorbed this year by the challenges of living and working through a pandemic. But that should be only the beginning of the story. You have a great chance to help re-make Green College for the present moment. Be sure to take it!
Third, it means that we all need to be patient, flexible and generous with each other, especially but not only during the early weeks of the new term while everyone is figuring out how to live at Green College under the present conditions and how best to contribute to the community. Those qualities are covered by the College’s statement on Community Values (https://greencollege.ubc.ca/community-values), which I recommend to you in its entirety.
Resident Members dining in the Great Hall. Photo: David Dunkley-Gyimah
Every year, Green College makes a fresh start, building on collective memory—including the memory of faculty and staff associated with the College—but relying on the creativity of Resident Members. There is always lots to do and work for all hands. Along with other “old-timers” here, I look forward to facilitating the initiatives that you and other Greenies decide to take this year, and to seeing what we can achieve together in a spirit of “Ideas and Friendship.”