Special to The NEWS
The MBA Games are coming to the Mid-Island, marking the first time in the competition’s 30-year history that the national event will be held in BC.
The annual business-student competition will be held in Nanaimo and area from Jan. 2-4, 2017 – and VIU is celebrating by sending a team of 40 students, its biggest contingent yet.
The theme for these Games is Today for Tomorrow; more than 500 MBA students from 19 Canadian universities will gather to compete in academic, team sport and spirit competitions. Along with VIU, participating BC schools include the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria, Thompson Rivers University and University Canada West.
The MBA Games Organizing Committee consists of 15 volunteers, all of whom are VIU MBA students or graduates. Omar Karim, Chairman of the committee and a VIU alum, estimates that the event and its earlier BC version will inject up to $2 million into the local economy, thanks to spending on flights, accommodations, meals and entertainment.
“It’s been a challenge to organize these Games,” says Karim, a 2016 MBA graduate. “But it’s also been an amazing experience to gather student leaders who are coming together to empower our local, provincial and national communities.”
Various VIU venues will be used and showcased as part of the Games, including the Nanaimo campus and Milner Gardens and Woodland, the stunning seaside garden in Qualicum Beach. All student competitors will stay at Parksville’s Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort & Conference Centre.
Members of the public are welcome to attend the sports competitions (a schedule will be made available on the MBA Games site (www.mbagames.ca). Some events, including the opening and closing ceremonies, will be live-streamed (streamofconsciousness.ca/mba-games-2017).
Each year, the event also raises money for a select charity partner. The 2017 partner is the Moose Hide Campaign, which is working to end violence against Indigenous and non-Indigenous women and children.
The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation is matching funds up to $150,000 as part of its commitment to the Moose Hide Campaign. This matching effort (www.viu.ca/news/viu-organized-mba-games-secures-150k-pledge-support-national-moose-hide-campaign) is another first for the MBA Games.
Following the Games, VIU and the Moose Hide Campaign plan to launch “Safe Space, Safe Place,” an initiative that aims to end violence against women on Canadian university campuses.
One of the event’s highlights includes a Jan. 4 panel discussion entitled “Reconciliation as a Call for Action.” Paul Lacerte, Co-Founder and CEO of the Moose Hide Campaign Development Society, will moderate the evening panel, an invite-only event that will be held at Nanaimo’s Port Theatre. Panel members include Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, Ambassador for Reconciliation Canada and a member of the National Assembly of First Nations Elders Council; and Stephen Huddart, President and CEO of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation.
“We are thrilled and honoured to host the 2017 MBA Games in Nanaimo,” says Dr. Ralph Nilson, VIU’s President and Vice-Chancellor. “This is a great opportunity to showcase our West Coast hospitality, inspire the business leaders of tomorrow and foster a conversation around the challenging yet vital topic of reconciliation with First Nations. I’m especially pleased that our student organizers have chosen to support the Moose Hide Campaign and its valuable work.”
“We’re so excited that this important event is coming to VIU,” adds David Iremadze, Director of Graduate Business Studies. “This event showcases the skills and competencies of our MBA graduates and candidates, and the quality of education that they receive at VIU.”
Other highlights include a dinner cruise for MBA Games participants in Nanaimo harbour, and a post-event VIP trip to see the Vancouver Canucks face off against the Calgary Flames (tickets are available to members of the public; for more, please visit the Facebook page).
The national MBA Games follows the BC MBA Games, a provincial version of the event that was held in Nanaimo in October 2016. VIU placed second overall; the winner, Thompson Rivers University, will host next year’s instalment of the BC MBA Games.
The BC event also raised more than $15,000 for the Childhood Cancer Canada Foundation. Of that amount, VIU raised about $7,000.
To view this release online, please visit VIU News (www.viu.ca/news/west-coast-first-viu-hosts-2017-national-mba-games).
— Glenn Drexhage is a communications officer with Vancouver Island University. Email: email@example.com.