Selkirk College is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2016, and is looking for help from the community to put together a commemorative book.
Takaia Larsen and Bob Hall are working on a history book to celebrate 50 years at Selkirk, and they are looking for stories, photos and mementos that help tell the story of the college.
“We put the proposal together about a year ago. We really thought it would be a great thing to do to celebrate the 50th so that people could come away with a book that tells the history of Selkirk College and also the region,” says Larsen.
Larsen is a History professor at Selkirk, as well as a former student, and Hall, community liaison for Selkirk, was editor for the Nelson Star for many years.
Larsen also previously worked on a similar project for Zellstoff Celgar.
“Celgar turned 50 a couple of years ago and we did a book project like that, and it turned out really, really well,” she says. “The retirees seemed to love it, and the community as well.”
Larsen and Hall have been working on the Selkirk 50th anniversary book since July and have collected photos, research and archive material.
So far they have interviewed 15 to 20 people — former faculty and students, and community members who have been involved with the college over the years.
“Interviews with them and their personal stories are a big part of the book,” says Larsen.
So far, Larsen says, “the hardest part is figuring out which stories to tell and which ones to not tell,” as there is too much material to fit into one book.
Asked if any particular stories stand out, Larsen said she learned why grapes can be found growing around campus.
“It turns out that originally those were planted for a vintners’ club, a wine making club, that was organized by faculty and they tested out all the different kinds of grapes they could grow, which ones grew the best here and it became part of learning and also beautifying the campus,” she explains.
Hall also came across something interesting when he was working on the book during the last federal election: Pierre Trudeau paid a visit to Selkirk College back in 1968 and gave a speech.
The book builds on a smaller publication that Selkirk College put out when it celebrated its 25th anniversary.
“So we’re kind of building on that project that happened 25 years ago and creating more of a full-length book that tells the history of all of the campuses and the communities surrounding the campuses over the last 50 years,” explains Larsen.
Plans are to launch the book during the homecoming weekend at Selkirk in September.
The book is just one part of the 50th anniversary celebration.
The 50th anniversary committee will be announcing what else they have planned for the year at the Bursary Tea on Saturday, Jan. 3o at Mary Hall on the Tenth Street Campus in Nelson.
Larsen and Hall will be collecting material for the book until the end of February and anyone who would like to contribute can contact Larsen at 250-365-1358 or email@example.com.