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Indigenous student housing opens at UBCO this semester

The Skeena Residence at University of British Columbia’s Okanagan (UBCO) Campus opened this semester to provide guaranteed housing for incoming Indigenous students.

The building is six-stories, has 220 beds, lounges, informal study spaces, an activity room, laundry facilities and boosts the number of available beds by 28%.

In 2019, UBCO reported that 6% of the 10,708 students on campus at the time self-identified as Indigenous.

“Ensuring that Indigenous students have access to on-campus housing is a vital support, and Skeena Residence meets that need well,” says Murray Rankin, minister of Indigenous relations.

<who> Photo Credit: UBCO

UBCO is also situated on the traditional territory of the Syilx Okanagan First Nation and has an ongoing working relationship with the Okanagan Nation Alliance.

According to the media release, earlier this year the Nechako Housing Commons also opened on campus which provides a 450 seat resident dining room for Skeena residents.

Construction on the student housing residence was completed last August and is part of Homes for BC which aims to construct around 8,000 on-campus student beds by 2028.

“This project makes post-secondary education more accessible and affordable for Indigenous youth,” said Anne Kang, minister of advanced education.

<who> Photo Credit: UBCO

Shortly after construction of the $24.98 million building began, the building received Passive House certification.

This certification is a building standard which ensures that comfort, affordability and energy efficiency are at the forefront of design, construction and livability.

The Skeena Residence is also aligned with CleanBC goals and decreases heating energy consumption.

"To me, more housing [...] fosters a community of students learning how to live on their own together," Sarah Jane Thompson, bachelor of human kinetics student, UBCO.

Earlier in September, new student housing also opened at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George – you can read that NowMedia story here.

<who> Photo Credit: UBCO

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