Published Date: November 1, 2016
Almost ten years ago, Trenton Augustine left his Aboriginal community in Metepenagiag First Nation to attend St. Thomas University.
He was eager to learn and discover new passions, but he hadn’t foreseen the culture shock and the difficult transition he would face.
Now, Augustine is back at his alma mater hoping to ease that transition for other aboriginal students at St. Thomas.
“Aboriginal Students are used to living in close-knit communities, always having family and friends around, and being immersed in their own culture,” he said.
“So when students have to move to a new place, especially a city, it is a big shock because it’s like a whole new world and start for them. They have to begin building that sense of community and identity, establish new friendships, learn a new way of life, and also have to deal with the pressures of succeeding at university. I know this, because this is also something that I had to deal with. All of this is a huge adjustment for students, because they are not only here to study, but they have to face being away from home and family.”
Augustine is now the Aboriginal Student Services Coordinator at STU, a position made possible by the Harrison McCain Foundation. Working closely with Miigam’agan, STU’s Elder in Residence, in the Wabanaki Resource Centre, his focus will be on Aboriginal student recruitment and retention, acting as a liaison with New Brunswick’s fifteen First Nations communities to promote post-secondary education, and the development of an academic and on-campus cultural support for First Nations students.
“I want to create a welcoming environment that incorporates and celebrates Aboriginal culture, and provide opportunities for students to get to know each other and learn more about their culture. I am excited to help build and create that home away from home for Aboriginal students attending STU.”
Augustine previously worked at the University of New Brunswick’s Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre as an Aboriginal Recruitment Officer.
“Trenton has significant ties and relationships with various First Nation communities in Atlantic Canada and brings an approach to both the communities and students that will aid in his efforts in recruiting and retaining students at STU,” said Brock Richardson, director of Student Services and Residence Life.
Augustine is very excited to be back at St. Thomas University.
“For four years, STU was my home. I really like the small community feel and the campus is absolutely beautiful. I’m excited to get to know the Aboriginal students at STU, to work with them, and do some amazing new things on campus. I’ve already met a number of great, engaged, and involved students at STU, and I’m looking forward to getting know more students and to help them succeed at university in any way I possibly can.”
Trenton Augustine can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (506)452-9669. His office is located in the Wabanaki Resource Centre in Sir James Dunn Hall, room 208.