Letter of Welcome to the Class of 2023 and returning Acadia Students

Letter of Welcome to the Class of 2023 and returning Acadia Students
By Jeff Cantwell

It is my distinct pleasure, as mayor of the Town of Wolfville, to welcome you to our unique and very special community. I use the term community rather than town deliberately, for a few reasons but the most significant is that virtually everybody residing in this town knows their neighbour and/or their neighbour’s neighbour. You’ve all heard about “the six degrees of separation,” well there are zero degrees of separation here in Wolfville. I encourage you to make time and take time to introduce yourself to your neighbours.

Another reason I use the term community is that over the 181 years of Acadia’s presence in Wolfville, and after the many tens of thousands of Acadia students before you who have lived in those very dorms and apartments where you find yourselves today, many have chosen to stay here in Wolfville and have helped to lead, drive, and grow our community and economy into what is currently referred to as the most distinct and robust small town in all of Atlantic Canada. We are proud of our community, proud of Acadia, and proud so many Acadia graduates have opted to remain in, or return to, Wolfville.

As in your academic life, where you seek answers from faculty or “upper classmates” to questions or problems which plague you about the sciences or arts or business, please, in your day-to-day civic life, take time to seek answers from your “community upper classmates,” those local neighbours who, like you but many years before you, sought similar answers to those very same “life” questions. Those “less tech savvy and more mature” folks (that would describe me) who stand beside you at the grocery store, the bank, the coffee shop or, yes, even the liquor store, were once the same young and curious members of the Wolfville and Acadia communities not all that many years ago, so go ahead and ask.

While you are here at Acadia, do yourself a favour and engage in some of the things which will really leave an impression or create memories you will truly cherish, rather than create memories you might prefer to forget. Catch a sunrise from the Look Off during harvest season, hike Cape Split, you will not regret it, and get familiar with our walking and biking trails. Check out our Farmers’ Market on Wednesday evenings and particularly Saturday mornings for that fix you will undoubtedly be seeking.

Volunteer for something in the community to round out your resumé and to familiarise yourself with the world which will be yours for the next four or five years: figure skating, scouting or guiding organisations, the volunteer fire department. There is much here to fill your resumé. When you graduate employers and grad schools will be looking for successful students and well-rounded, community leaders.

Get out and explore your surroundings. It is said “these are the best days of your life”. That is true, but really, these are the days of your life when you will never have less responsibility thrust upon you. Take advantage of it now. These days are like a “time mortgage”. You will have the next 40 years plus (if you’re lucky), to remember, enjoy and pay back this time. So get out and appreciate them and again, welcome. Now, go get acquainted with your new home and like home, get to know and respect your neighbours. You will not regret it, and it will make living here that much more enjoyable and memorable.

–Jeff Cantwell, Mayor of Wolfville