When moving to a new office space, it soon becomes apparent how long you’ve been at the old one: a few years translates into a few hours’ worth of sorting, clearing, recycling, dismantling, packing, and retreating in cowardly fashion from spiders so large they could star in a B movie.
Those were the scenes this April at Cecil Green Park House, a 1912 mansion perched on the northern tip of UBC’s Vancouver campus where alumni UBC has been headquartered for the past few decades (walking to meetings held on the other side of campus requires a map and some sandwiches). It’s architecturally impressive, historically interesting, has a sea view and is surrounded by idyllic gardens. You’d think we’d be reluctant to leave. But not if you knew where we were moving to.
On the morning of April 20, alumni UBC staff arrived at their new workspace inside the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre – so new the paint was still wet. As the building’s earliest occupants, we were able to witness the finishing touches being added to the spacious and inviting public areas, from paving stones and shrubbery on the outside to hi-tech interactive screens, display cases for UBC memorabilia, and some stylish lounge chairs and tables I would steal if I were dishonest (or had a bigger purse) on the inside. The alumni centre was coming to life – it was like watching a building being born. And it’s your baby. If you want to take a quick peek at the new arrival on campus, see “It’s Yours” in this issue of Trek.
The Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre opens officially on September 30 to coincide with the start of UBC’s Centennial celebrations. It’s significant that alumni UBC has moved its operations from a former family home that existed before the first campus building was erected to a new home built specifically to serve alumni right at the heart of what has become an expansive, energetic, and highly productive campus.
UBC has come a long way in a century, and it’s clear alumni are being counted on to have a hand in shaping the next 100 years.