University of Calgary

Ceremony Honours Transfer of Cenovus Spo’pi Solar House

UToday HomeApril 3, 2013

Spo'Pi TRTL House Transfer Pipe CeremonyParticipating in the Spo’pi House ceremony were, from left: Lee Crowchild, Tsuu T’ina First Nation, Aboriginal advisor to Cenovus Spo’pi House; Guy Gendron, dean, Schulich School of Engineering; Bob Ellard, vice-president (facilities and development); Reg Crowshoe, cultural advisor and ceremonialist, Pikuni First Nation; Kim Gould, member 2011, Team Canada Solar Decathlon; and Dru Marshall, provost and vice-president (academic).

On March 21, a small ceremonial gathering honoured the tradition of Treaty 7 First Nations communities while recognizing excellence in community partnerships and student innovation in teaching and learning at the University of Calgary.

The Cenovus Spo’pi Solar House, donated back to the university in 2012 by its title sponsor Cenovus Energy, will celebrate its Grand Opening on May 2, 2013. The ceremonial blessing, transfer, and pipe ceremony marked the transfer of Cenovus Spo’pi Solar House from students to Facilities Management to the provost and vice-president (academic) and her team of academic leaders in the Schulich School of Engineering.

Dru Marshall, provost and vice-president (academic), welcomed the Cenovus Spo’pi Solar House to campus and recognized it as a unique and valuable teaching and learning facility. The ceremony paid tribute to the journey of the Cenovus Spo’pi Solar House, Team Canada’s entry in the 2011 Solar Decathlon competition, held in Washington, D.C.

The home has been brought back to the University of Calgary, reconstructed, and repurposed to become a new teaching and learning facility on campus.

Reggie Crowshoe, cultural advisor for the Cenovus Spo’pi Solar House, led the validation ceremonies and informed participants about how other ceremonies have taken place to bless and protect the home. He explained how the transfer of a buffalo robe and a war shirt, donated by Mel Benson, as well as the Spo’pi Pendelton blanket donated by Treaty 7 Economic Development, are gifts presented to the home and the Schulich School of Engineering that honour the transfer of the house between students, community members, and university leaders.

The transfer was marked by special songs by Crowshoe, validating the transfer.

The Native Centre staff and Aboriginal advisors to the Cenovus Spo’pi Solar House helped to organize the ceremony. Bob Ellard, vice-president (facilities and development), and Guy Gendron, dean of the Schulich School of Engineering, also participated in the ceremony and offered words of gratitude to everyone involved.

Kim Gould, B.Sc. (Eng.), a former Team Canada member, now a project manager for Pivotol Projects, talked about the history of the competition, the significance of cultural teachings and traditional knowledge, and the use of solar energy in innovative design.


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