Cape Breton University is proud to encourage students to explore all aspects of the learning experience, including experiential learning opportunities. Karly Bernard is one CBU student who knows the value of such opportunities.
Karly is a third-year Bachelor of Arts student with a major in Political Science and a minor in Philosophy. She is from Paq’tnkek First Nation, located between Antigonish and the Canso Causeway, and says she was drawn to CBU by the great feedback she received from friends who also went there. “I kept hearing about how supportive CBU is of their students, especially Indigenous students,” says Karly. “That’s what I enjoy most about being a CBU student, the diverse and accepting atmosphere where every culture is celebrated and respected.”
Karly eagerly dove into campus life at CBU, getting involved in student events, becoming a member of the CBU Road Squad and now working as a Student Ambassador. She loves getting to meet aspiring CBU students and show them everything CBU has to offer.
This January, Karly added another incredible student experience to her list by attending the SevenGen 2019: Powering Resilience conference in Calgary. SevenGen is an Indigenous youth student energy summit, where 200 youth from across Canada come together to build relationships and break social barriers in the energy conversation.
The name SevenGen is inspired by the Lakota prophecy that says the seventh generation will lead world change. Today’s Indigenous youth are that seventh generation and this summit seeks to help inspire energy leaders who will support a sustainable future.
Karly heard about SevenGen from a friend, and felt that it would be a learning experience she couldn’t miss out on. She sent in her application essay and was granted not only the conference fee, but a travel bursary as well. Though she initially set off on her travels alone, Karly made friends with students from all over Canada along the way.
“My expectation for the conference was to meet successful Indigenous youth who are working on bettering their own communities,” says Karly. “That’s exactly what I got and so much more. I met inspiring and influential people who taught me that I can and will succeed as an Indigenous youth.”
Karly’s favourite workshop at the conference was called “Finding Your Power.” She says it inspired her to do everything she can, not only to better her community, but to further educate herself and develop an action plan for self-preservation and growth. Her current goal for the future is to attend law school with a focus on Indigenous rights or environmental law and says every experience she gains at CBU plays a role in achieving that goal.
Karly wants other CBU students to take advantage of experiential learning opportunities like the Co-op Program, conferences and more. “It’s a great opportunity to grow your motivation, meet new people and develop skills and goals for your future,” says Karly.