An argument for Brantford

Serena Anagbe / Photo Editor
The Research and Academic Centre East.

At some point in your time at Wilfrid Laurier University in Brantford, you’ve probably heard some sort of comment about the quality of our campus. Such comments may range in theme from overly dramatic characterizations of the city’s resemblance to Gotham City in some respects, while others praise the more focused academic experience. 

However, what do these comments really mean? Are these comments indicative of a classist state of mind which condemns Brantford for simply being unlucky enough to have all of its industry yanked away in decades past? Maybe for some, but this is likely the exception to the origin of most comments surrounding the campus. While the city itself may not be anything to write home about, Brantford’s campus is not something to be immediately written off as being destitute. While the unfortunate economic state of the city does leave it in a tragic series of mental health crises, the campus provides a set of opportunities that are unparalleled in their level of student access on the undergraduate level.  

The small size of the campus, which is currently at roughly 2,700 students, may be a cause for concern for some, but it essentially ensures any application to an executive position of any club or extracurricular, as well as the opportune space to develop a well-rounded perspective of the world. It may be simple to look at the city’s homeless and mental health crises as being a topic for discussion for a city in hard times, but I would challenge you to instead look beyond the surface level of these topics. Behind the mental health and homelessness crises, lies the starting grounds for the development of practical critical thinking skills. While it is well within anyone’s rights to feel a certain level of discomfort as a result of these issues, I would ask that you first put yourselves into the shoes of those who are struggling; those who have likely had their entire industry uprooted and exported to nations with revoltingly relaxed labour laws; those who have been denied the chance to receive adequate care for their mental and physical health; as well as those whose city and provincial government has failed them at every single level. Before immediately dog-piling onto a Brantford hate train, I implore you to try and empathize with the position countless people have been put into; how many people have had their entire lives upturned at the hands of greedy industry leaders and disinterested public officials, of whom would rather wash their hands of any responsibility instead of actually trying to improve and assist the community they have been elected to serve.  

Furthermore, I encourage all readers to get involved in the various communities that Brantford has. Sign up for volunteer organizations, such as Laurier Students For Literacy, which is run out of the Brantford Public Library and aims to help elementary age children advance their literacy skills, as well as assist in other educational capacities. The Brantford campus has much to offer, so take me at my word when I say that it can be an extremely rewarding experience to be able to appreciate the city for what it is, a land of opportunities.

This article was originally published in print Volume 23, Issue 1 on Thursday, Aug. 31.

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