Royal Roads University president Philip Steenkamp makes the first symbolic cut of the barbed wire fencing around the campus. The university is removing the barbed wire with hopes to make the campus appear more welcoming to the community. (Image courtesy Dan Anthon/Royal Roads University)

Royal Roads University president Philip Steenkamp makes the first symbolic cut of the barbed wire fencing around the campus. The university is removing the barbed wire with hopes to make the campus appear more welcoming to the community. (Image courtesy Dan Anthon/Royal Roads University)

Royal Roads University snips through old identity

University in Colwood removes barbed wire fencing to encourage a more welcoming environment

Royal Roads University is cutting through barriers.

The university is removing barbed wire which surrounds the campus, with hopes to make the space appear more welcoming. Royal Roads University (RRU) president Philip Steenkamp made the first snip Wednesday morning.

“When I first started here, I was driving around and saw the barbed wire. I thought it wasn’t a very kind image for the community,” said Steenkamp, who took over as president two years ago.

Steenkamp reached out to the Department of National Defence, which owns the property, and started a discussion about taking down the wire. RRU was formerly a military training facility, which is why the fencing was initially put up.

“We are trying to shift the identity, and the culture,” said Steenkamp. “Thousands of people come here every year. This is a place where all of the community comes – It’s like the Stanley Park of the West Shore, so we want to send a message that everyone is welcome here.”

ALSO READ: Free daily mental health programs now available to Greater Victoria residents

Steenkamp added that RRU has a 25-year vision moving forward, with the core message being, “Inspiring people with the courage to transform the world.”

Within this vision, one of the main goals is to significantly increase engagement within the campus, and for the university to be more involved out in the community.

“We are working on implementing a youth centre for life-long learning in Colwood,” said Steenkamp. “It’s all part of a strategy to show that we are deeply committed to this region.”

ALSO READ: B.C. Black History Month events shift online in Greater Victoria


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