The Next Chapter: Students Envision CBU’s Future

The energy and ideas each new class brings allow us to write a new chapter of the Cape Breton University story. As we celebrate our 50th anniversary in 2024, Dr. Stephanie MacQuarrie has invited students across campus to share their visions for the future of CBU for the next 50 years and beyond.

To bring everyone’s unique thoughts together, Dr. MacQuarrie framed their visions within the context of CBU’s current Strategic Plan. Through this lens, students explored how their aspirations align with CBU’s commitment to academic excellence, community engagement and global impact.

Ava Graham, a third-year student in the Bachelor of Science program, Chemistry and Mathematics double major, envisions a future where CBU remains steadfast in our commitment to investing in students’ success through fully accessible learning. Ava shares, “Working toward fully accessible learning should be a process of constant adaptation and growth. By 2074, I envision CBU becoming a university where every person is equitably supported in their efforts to further their knowledge without being held back by many of the educational barriers faced today. I hope that students, faculty and staff of all abilities can identify areas that should be improved so we can collectively work toward these goals without the responsibility constantly falling on the shoulders of those who need support most.”

On the front lines of campus life, Shail Castelino, a student in the Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Health Care Management program, emphasizes the role of recreation and well-being in fostering a vibrant student community. Shail expresses, “In my mind’s eye, I can see Cape Breton University Recreation 50 years from now as a completely seamless and cutting-edge facility. Its top priority will be making recreation accessible and convenient for all. Within 50 years, CBU Recreation will be the central hub for all sports, deeply rooted in the community and driving engagement among its members. A strong emphasis will be placed on inclusivity, ensuring everyone can participate and feel welcome. CBU Recreation will also lead the way in promoting mental health. Understanding the significant impact that fitness and sports have on overall well-being, the institution will be a model for others to follow.”

In the realm of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Nadine Leadbeater, a student in the Bachelor of Education program, Secondary Stream, shares, “With advancements happening every minute of the day, I imagine, by 2074, Advanced Technology at CBU will include flawless AI research platforms and technology-driven programs to respond to real-world needs. I expect virtual lectures that offer instant access to live worldwide simulations, access to experts in all fields instantaneously and smart campuses that benefit from universal design to anticipate and respond to the needs of all students.”

The story of CBU is a celebration of the history of our home and the trust the people of Unama’ki – Cape Breton have placed in us. Alyssa Burke, a third-year student in the Bachelor of Science program, Chemistry (Honours), envisions CBU as a driving force for championing the Island’s prosperity by bolstering the overall health and development of Cape Breton Island. Alyssa shares, “The future of CBU excites me and provides me, and others interested in a career in healthcare, with an opportunity to learn in our own community. Having this opportunity will give students access to resources in the medical sciences locally. These programs inspire other young students to choose this pathway for their education and career aspirations. I am looking forward to seeing what the future brings to CBU and myself, and what other doors will be opened.”

Strongly rooted in Cape Breton – Unama’ki, we are proud to share the Island with the world. Matthew Patles, a graduate of the Bachelor of Hospitality and Tourism Management program, shares, “During CBU’s first 50 years, it has established itself as an institution with deep roots in Cape Breton Island. From its humble origins to its now large stature, it has provided opportunities in many fields, including business, education and tourism. As a tree that has been properly planted, its roots will dig deep into its land; with sustainability as a main focus in the tourism sector it will keep our home safe, clean and growing for many generations to come. I see our tourism sector growing in cultures, opportunities and sustainability. For the next 50 years, I want the ability to say I’m from Cape Breton to the world, and the world will know our name.”

Andrew Downey, a Bachelor of Education student, sets his sights on shaping the future workforce with professionals graduating from CBU. He envisions, “Every aspect of CBU life has incorporated technology with ease, turning the campus into an intelligent, networked ecosystem. Assistive technologies have changed the dynamics of the university classroom in the past and will continue to do so in the future. In 2074, CBU will act as an agent of change and innovation in a world where knowledge, technology and human potential are met. Virtual classrooms with augmented reality, for example, will allow for the creation of an international community of scholars and learners, even in remote locations. CBU’s future education will prepare students for jobs that are still unimagined by fusing traditional courses with cutting-edge industries.”

Everything we have become has its foundations in the generations of students, faculty, staff, Alumni, donors and community members who have told our story with us. As we look ahead to the next 50 years and beyond, we invite the community to join us in writing the next chapters of the CBU story, guided by our shared vision for a bright and promising future.

To stay up to date on the 50th celebration, visit