Town of Wolfville, Acadia University, and Acadia Students’ Union sign MOU
Leaders of the Town of Wolfville, Acadia University, and the Acadia Student’s Union (ASU) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that is unlike any agreement between a Canadian university and its host community. The signing ceremony was held on Acadia’s campus following approval of the MOU by Acadia’s Board of Governors which followed approval by both the Wolfville Town Council and Acadia’s Student Representative Council.
“The three organizations want to materialize our goal of truly becoming a learning community,’ says Wolfville mayor Jeff Cantwell. “What we have here is unique. All you have to do is walk down Main Street between September and April to see how different Wolfville is from other communities. And, when I describe the relationship we have with Acadia and its student leadership to mayors of other university towns, they can’t believe it. This MOU formalizes our relationship and commits us to making what is already great, even better.”
The eight-page indefinite MOU commits the three partners to pursuing a number of specific economic development goals and working together through a Town and Gown Committee to improve livability in the community and address problems quickly.
The highlights of the agreement are:
- At least once per year the Mayor will attend a meeting of Acadia’s Board of Governors and Student Council and Acadia’s President and the President of the ASU will attend a Town Council meeting;
- Acadia and the Town will jointly pursue event hosting opportunities leveraging Acadia’s campus assets and the Town’s reputation for hosting significant events such as Devour!, Deep Roots and the Valley harvest Marathon. The Town will also provide direct support for campus events such as Homecoming, Welcome Week, Cheaton Cup and the Acadia Performing Arts Series;
- The Town and Acadia commit to managing their infrastructure strategically through activities such as: shared tenders, installation of electric vehicle charging stations, joint recreational programming, and remaining active partners in the valley Community Fibre Network;
- Funding from the Town for certain activities and facilities at Acadia that benefit residents and the provision of access to campus facilities for community members for no cost or on a cost recovery basis depending on the type of activity;
- Integration of strategic and annual business planning; and
- A commitment to promote community harmony by, among other things, implementing a comprehensive community alcohol strategy, exploring ways to better serve students living off-campus including an off campus RA model, developing a Student Code of Conduct that will address on and off campus behavior, and undertaking a pilot effort to establish a community liaison position that will address questions and concerns about neighborhood livability.
“Wolfville is a remarkable community for our students to experience while they study at Acadia,” says Dr. Peter Ricketts, President and Vice-Chancellor of Acadia. “At the same time, Acadia brings resources to a small town that just are not available or accessible in many similar communities. I believe we have an obligation as leaders of our organizations to do everything we can to leverage the assets we have to make Wolfville and Acadia even better. We have always enjoyed a good relationship and been able to sort through problems and opportunities, so this MOU provides us with a structure we can follow and a means to measure our success.”
“Acadia students make such a difference to the feel of Wolfville that it’s only natural that student leaders be at the table with both the University and the Town,” says ASU President George Philp. “There are real issues, such as the quality and availability of off-campus student housing, that affect student life but we require support from the community in order to make improvements. At the same time, we also want to be good neighbours and create an atmosphere within the community that makes Acadia and Wolfville a preferred destination for students who are making their decisions about their post-secondary choices. An MOU is proof that what we say about our community is true – you have to experience it to believe this sort of ideal environment to live and learn still exists.”
Full text of the MOU is available here.