When I have the chance to write for more than just essays and a blog, here is what I do…

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Originally a letter to the editor , this got printed as a “guest opinion” article and appeared in both island newspapers this past September (2007).  I think I am not alone in these opinions…

 I am a native Islander, and like all of us born in P.E.I., I will always call it home despite the fact that I now live ‘away’ (New Brunswick). Recently, I was home for a visit and was sadden by a revelation: despite how much I may want to, I will never be able to return to live on my beloved island. You see, I am a 27 year old master’s student (liberal arts) and my fate was sealed when I chose to pursue a field not related to health care, education, or aerospace technology. Prince Edward Island has no place for me now, seeing as I am unwilling to take a job in tourism at minimum wage.

 Unfortunately this is not news to most young people from P.E.I. It has been a problem for so many of us—few opportunities and many obstacles in the attempt to make a living in the province. It is rare in our culture to find a place that cradles its sense of ‘home’ the way the island does, and that is what ultimately draws many of us back. However, the government does little to assist the process. I see more and more money being put into tourism and little spent on enhancing the lives of locals. They are paying a high price to stay in the places they were born and raised, a price that many of us cannot afford to pay. There is little compensation for the Islander who does not fit into the above professions (and even still for those who do!).  

When I come home to my family in P.E.I., I find a sense of belonging that I know I will never find elsewhere. However, it is becoming clear that in many ways I am doomed to live “away” forever. My hope is that after I finish my master’s degree I will find a job in the Maritimes before succumbing to the lure of the Calgary ‘Gold Rush’ like so many of my school mates have already done (where the same jobs pays triple and include benefits). I will then look forward to retirement when I may finally return and join the growing senior’s population of Summerside (as the Journal recently noted).  We are driving our young people away and it is a shame because we do, indeed, have much to offer.  

My hope is that the government will begin to focus on the needs of its people and not forsake family for tourism. I see more and more money being spent on advertising (changing our marketing design nearly every year), promotions (celebrity golfing), and appearance (another new license plate!?), and little being put into the care of the locals who are paid too little (with few or no benefits) and pay too much for things like groceries, travel, clothing, and programs. The thing we do best in Prince Edward Island is community and the government needs to send the message that it supports that by first and foremost taking care of its people.  

It is hard to imagine returning to a province where the residents are viewed as being worth very little by its governing powers. I seriously hope that I am not exiled from my home because of my education; but although it may be a bleak one, it appears to be the reality I will have to face.  

Regretfully,


Shelley Perry

……………

Article for SSU featured in Options Magazine (2007) 

wiebes-venice.jpg

Dare to take the walls off of the classroom.  Discover the rich history of ancient Pompeii in class, then make those pages come to life by setting foot in its ruins.  Whether it is a lecture in Venice, a class in Paris, or a discussion in Bangkok, St. Stephen’s University is unlike any other. 

Located in lovely New Brunswick, students come to SSU to study in a unique trans-denominational Christian community.  SSU offers nterdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts degrees with a humanities focus.  At any given time there are less than 100 students studying amid its historic walls, which only adds to its charm.  Students live and learn in a Christian academic context, resurrecting a sense of community that is all but lost in our culture today.    

Arguably the most popular aspect of the program is the travel-study component. Students spend two terms overseas as part of their studies—one in Western Europe and one in South East Asia. These travel terms highlight SSU’s desire for students to experience an integrated education by combining classroom knowledge with cultural exposure.   

SSU also offers graduate level Ministry programs and an Institute of Contemporary and Emerging Worship Studies (www.ssu.ca/icews).

For more information see www.ssu.ca. 

Shelley Perry, 2006/07

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THE VIEW FROM SSU

(a short lived column in a local newspaper)

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in Community 

The semester is half over at St. Stephen’s University and students and staff are left wondering where exactly the time has gone.  Fall is always a bustle of activity around the university with class work, mid-terms, and various events in the works.  This month the school was honored by a variety of special guest speakers including Dr. John Patrick, President of St. Augustine College, and author and poet John Terpstra.   

I am once again appreciative of the focus SSU puts on community life. All this hubbub of activity causes me to reflect upon what exactly constitutes “community.”   I can’t help but wonder whether Western society really understands its meaning anymore.  True, we have our clubs and social groups where we share a bit of our lives with those we consider “like-minded,” however, gone are the days when our very lives relied on those living around us–whether or not we ‘liked’ them.  Part of SSU’s mission is to resurrect that very sense of community that many of us have lost along the way.     

At the University’s two main residences, Park Hall and St. Croix House, there are students living together trying to find that delicate balance between individuality and commonality. They eat together, learn together, grow together. This is not as easy as it may sound. When you mix so many personality types and backgrounds you are bound to find conflict.  Oddly enough, this conflict inevitably gives way to acceptance and resolution because what choice is there?  I can see only two when you live in community: work it out, or be miserable.  I recommend the former.  Students are learning how to live with those they may consider very different from themselves–a lesson I presume will take them very far in life.

But conflict is not the only thing birthed from such a community.  Students continually surprise me with their creative, combined energy.  Halloween is already shaping up to be a must-see event with pumpkin carving contests, hilarious costumes, and even a giant leaf-jumping session.  In November, students are planning an Arts Night where local talent will be displayed in the form of music, poetry, and visual arts.  A coffee house will begin that same month providing a safe, fun place for local teens to hang out and hear some great music. That is just to name a few!   

We truly see the best and worst of people when we live together in community. It is also then that we find we can fully know and love people. The only way we are known and loved ourselves. No pretences, no facades, just real people: the good, the bad, and the ugly working together to form something greater than any one could do alone.  Because SSU is committed to supporting community life, we would like to invite everyone to the previously mentioned events.  Keep watch for more details and opportunities to get involved in our community as well as your own. 

Megan Brown playing in the leaves (Student Megan Brown playing in the leaves)

Shelley Perry, Oct. 2005

1 Response to “Articles”


  1. 1 Maximus December 20, 2007 at 6:29 am

    I would like to see a continuation of the topic


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