Congratulations Evangeline Clifton and Joseph Lyons, winners of the 2020 VIUFA Community Engagement Awards.

VIUFA members are proud to have some incredible students in their courses. The VIUFA Community
Engagement Awards Committee had a very difficult time this year trying to select two award recipients from the seven excellent applications that were received. The Committee was quite happy to see that applications came from all across campus: Management, Education, Nursing, Social Sciences, and Sciences. VIU students continue to be involved in leadership, community, diversity, and inclusion through their volunteer work with teams, conferences, programs (on and off campus), professional development, and research. We recently honoured two students, Evangeline Clifton (Recreation and Tourism) and Joseph Lyons (Art and Design), with the VIUFA Community Engagement Awards ($1000 each) for their commitment to making on and off-campus communities better. Read about their wonderful work below. Congratulations Evangeline and Joseph!

Evangeline Clifton is a VIU student, currently completing her final year of a Bachelor’s of Management degree in Recreation and Tourism. In her years at VIU, Evangeline has engaged in numerous activities related to furthering understanding of Indigenous perspectives on our pathway to Truth and Reconciliation. Evangeline has been a member of ‘su’luqwa’a’ community cousins, an Aboriginal student mentorship group, where she has worked with students, staff and Elders to provide mentorship and support to other Aboriginal students. The impact she has had can be seen in the heightened resolve and retention of many Aboriginal students to whom she has provided authenticity, camaraderie, and support. Evangeline volunteered to facilitate her own learning circle for faculty through CIEL and was also a key member of VIU’s Taking a Step: Students for Truth and Reconciliation that started in 2018. In the spring of 2019, Evangeline volunteered to MC a capstone event held at Shu’q’apthut.

Joseph Lyons is an international student (Seattle and Hawaii) has been a full-time student for three years pursuing a bachelor’s degree Majoring in Visual Art at Vancouver Island University. Originally coming to VIU to pursue studies in Social Work but was persuaded that “you can do social work with clay”, which appealed to is background as a professional potter.

His first opportunity to be of service was by making bowls for a Loaves & Fishes fundraiser organized by
Ceramics teacher Jean Kloppenburg (Nanaimo District Secondary School). Connections made through this event (in which he stull participates) led to pottery demonstrations and workshops in local High Schools (Dover Bay, Todd Barsby, N.D.S.S., technical support for a student project ceramics mural, and teaching kid’s classes at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts. In 2017, Joseph organized a “Mug In” fundraiser for the Art Club, raising over $500 from the broader Nanaimo community in 2017, and over $2,000 in 2018. His latest community event was during World Days on campus, where he organized supplies, support, and working space so that high school students could create and paint over 200 tiles around the theme “What do you bring to VIU?”. The tiles are ready to be fired and installed, waiting only for warmer weather and a relaxation of isolation protocols. Joseph hopes to become a middle school teacher on the Island and will, no doubt, continue to inspire.