University of Calgary

Community partners recognized for roles in Cenovus Spo’pi Solar House

UToday HomeMay 3, 2013

Reg Crowshoe, spiritual and cultural advisor for the Piikuni First Nation, and Vicki Reid, Cenovus manager of community affairs, chat during the opening of the Cenovus Spo’pi Solar House at the University of Calgary on May 2.Reg Crowshoe, spiritual and cultural advisor for the Piikuni First Nation, and Vicki Reid, Cenovus manager of community affairs, chat during the opening of the Cenovus Spo’pi Solar House at the University of Calgary on May 2. Photo by Riley BrandtSupport and consultation from several community partners was key during design and construction of the Cenovus Spo’pi Solar House, which now has a permanent home as a sustainable energy research facility at the University of Calgary.

Cenovus Energy was the lead sponsor of the project, which is among several initiatives across campus in which the company has invested. Since 2009, Cenovus Energy has supported the Schulich School of Engineering, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Environmental Design, Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy (ISEEE) and the Native Centre to enrich student programs and support research.

“Cenovus believes in supporting efficiency and innovation through education,” said Vicki Reid, Cenovus manager, community affairs, at the May 2 grand opening celebration on campus. “A research facility of this nature speaks volumes to the importance of young innovators taking a creative approach to finding vital solutions to real-world energy and housing issues. We recognize that as world energy demand rises we must come up with creative solutions to meet those needs.”

Spo’pi is the Blackfoot word meaning “lives on stilts.” The home was built to address the housing needs of First Nations Communities. In order to be practical yet true to cultural beliefs and values, members of the Aboriginal community were consulted during design and construction. Guests at the grand opening included a traditional drum group along with members of the Aboriginal Advisory Committee and the Treaty 7 region.

“Accommodating another culture’s values and principles in a project like Spo’pi allows us as First Nations to put value into our homes,” said Reg Crowshoe, spiritual and cultural advisor for the Piikuni First Nation. “I’m honoured to see our cultural beliefs reflected in the home that’s on this site.”

During an Indigenous groundbreaking ceremony last summer, Crowshoe gave a special blessing of the site on which the home was built. In the months since then, the house was reconstructed, furnished and connected to the campus utilities grid. A more formal Pipe Ceremony was held upon completion of the construction to transfer the stewardship of the solar house to the Schulich School of Engineering. This began a new chapter for the home as a high-tech, community-based teaching and learning facility on campus.

 

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