New Aboriginal student services co-ordinator joins STU team

    St. Thomas University alumni Trenton Augustine started November off as the school’s new Aboriginal student services co-ordinator.

    Augustine said he’s looking forward to working in the Wabanaki Resource Centre with Miigam’agan, the elder-in-residence at STU.

    “I love it,” Augustine said. “I love being back at St. Thomas and working. It’s definitely a new way of looking at things.”
    Augustine, who graduated from STU in 2011, worked at University of New Brunswick’s Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre as a recruitment officer before moving up the hill to STU.

    As a student services co-ordinator, Augustine now focuses on engaging potential aboriginal students and creating a welcoming environment to support them on a cultural, personal and academic level. He also communicates between the 15 Aboriginal communities of New Brunswick and discusses the importance of education.

    Augustine said he hopes to create an environment at STU that not only supports, but showcases and celebrates aboriginal culture at a fundamental level.

    “I look forward to hosting events on campus … to show that the centre’s here,” Augustine said. “I want it to reflect the students and what they want, what they want it to see and what they want it to be.”

    Augustine said he wants to keep people informed about the issues the Aboriginal community faces, specifically regarding missing and murdered Indigenous women. He also wants to teach university students about Indigenous culture.

    He said he hopes to increase the visibility of the centre so students are more aware of it, and ultimately help people feel welcomed as well as educated.

    Many aboriginal students at STU, like Logan Perley, look forward to Augustine’s addition and find the guidance will be helpful.

    “Life on the reserve is nothing like life in the city, so if you have someone here who can help navigate through that it makes things a lot easier,” said Perley, a member of Tobique First Nation.

    “For the last while we’ve just had the resident elder, and she’s very personable … but I think having a younger person there as well adds a different perspective and will make a lot more people want to come.”

    Augustine admits it’s an interesting change to come back to STU as a staff member. Nevertheless, he said he’s happy to be back and is looking forward to the changes here.

    “I just really look forward to getting to know the students, and getting to know the staff and faculty,” he said. “I really want to just help them and help the students get to know people around campus. It’s awesome to be back.”