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Community service and volunteering is something that has always been a very keen interest of mine.

Of course, there is the philanthropic benefit that comes with offering up one’s expertise or time.  But I’ve also found that there are many personal benefits from volunteering:

  • the feel good aspect of doing something good
  • establishing new friendships (some of which have lasted me more than fifteen years)
  • learning new skills
  • exposure to new opportunities

While one shouldn’t go into a volunteer project for the purpose of “getting something out of it” – it is a natural byproduct and shouldn’t be discouraged.

My current project involves working with a team in the design and construction of a new Alumni Centre on the University of British Columbia’s Point Grey campus.  This centre will be located in the heart of UBC’s campus, will be 40,000 square feet and include many things geared toward making alumni feel welcome at their alma mater.

At the end of this project I will walk away with a far stronger understanding of how one goes about building a building.  I’m learning from our professional staff and my co-volunteers.  It’s great stuff!

This is a particularly exciting time because our project is now on track to apply for a development permit.

The new Alumni Centre will be located right next to a tremendous student led project to build a new 255,000 square foot student centre.   I’m excited for the students – I think they’re going to end up with one of North America’s most impressive student centres.  Visit http://mynewsub.com/site/ to keep up to speed on this project.

Here’s a flyby down University Boulevard to the new University Square:

If you’re a UBC alumn or even a current student (or future alumn!) then be sure to check out http://www.alumnicentre.ubc.ca to keep posted on the Alumni Centre project.

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Enterprize 2009

January 21, 2009

Enterprize 2009

As some of you know, I am consulting to the University of British Columbia in the formation of a campus wide program in entrepreneurship.  It’s been eight years since I owned my own business, so while I can’t consider myself a current entrepreneur, I certainly have the bruises to prove that I am entrepreneurial (stay tuned for the results of my current business pursuit).

I’ll post on our program as it evolves over the course of the next several months, but in the interim let me plug a terrific group of UBC students who are putting together Canada’s premier student run business plan competition.

Enterprize Canada (www.enterprizecanada.org) is a Canadian national business plan competition that provides students from across this country an opportunity to have their business concepts and plans vetted, critiqued and submitted for all sorts of prizes and accolades.  I know one of the organizers (Boris Remes) and if his method of operating is any indication of the quality of this event it will be a incredible buffet of entrepreneurial excitement!

As I go through the process of forming UBC’s entrepreneurship program, I’m constantly invigorated by this university’s entrepreneurial talent.   Whether it’s the 2nd year Applied Science student who has a growing business and is struggling to decide whether to finish his degree, or the young alumna who is building the next great web 2.0 business – these young entrepreneurs are incredible.

If you’re a business person who wants a look at the next generation of business leaders, an investor looking for the next great thing, a mentor give something back to today’s young entrepreneurs or even an entrepreneur looking for mentorship, skills development, money or profile then check out this event.