Like so many key threads in our community’s fabric, Selkirk College is too often taken for granted. Today’s front page story on the post secondary institution’s financial struggle is good reason for us to start paying closer attention.
At this point there doesn’t seem to be a need to panic. Shrinking envelopes of cash from senior government and a drop in enrollment numbers are to be expected during these lean fiscal days. Selkirk president Angus Graeme and the school’s board of directors seem confident that small adjustments will produce the required balanced budget.
Still, any headline that indicates stress for this vital institution should make us think a little deeper about the value Selkirk has in our area.
The most important part of Selkirk is the students and the opportunity it provides learners of all ages. For locals it’s an opportunity to stay close to home while getting equipped with the knowledge and skills to better succeed in life. For students from across the country, it’s a chance to attend a school with innovative programs in a pretty cool part of the world.
It doesn’t stop there.
Selkirk is a major employer in our region and a vital economic driver. The jobs it provides give many families the ability to be important contributors to this town.
The students themselves give an added boost that would be difficult to find elsewhere. They may be surviving on modest student financial means, but simply grocery shopping helps local businesses with their bottom line.
The cultural shot in the arm might be harder to measure, but when open minds arrive to a community with their own ideas it helps build on the diversity that’s so important to our survival.
Selkirk College is a true gift to our region. And one we should never underestimate.