Our Campus: Carole Jolly is building community spirit on campus

When one thinks of university, academics is most likely what first comes to mind. On a campus as large as UBC's, however, there is a lot going on behind-the-scenes to build and maintain a sense of community.

"The UBC Campus and Community Planning unit has a commitment to building a complete, thriving and vital community here at UBC," explained Carole Jolly, the director of community development for Campus and Community Planning. Though not always in the spotlight, according to Jolly, her team is dedicated to "developing a community where people can live, work, learn and play all in one spot." It's a fairly new unit, just over a year old, and was created to support the academic experience, to build the campus community and to look for ways to leverage the campus' public outdoor spaces.

Jolly, originally from Ontario, graduated with an honours degree in geography from the University of Guelph.

"I always had an affinity and affection for urban spatial issues and land use planning but quite didn't know how to define it," said Jolly.

She moved out to B.C. in 1999 after a road trip across Canada and eventually found herself in Vancouver. Shortly thereafter, she completed her master's degree in urban planning here which led to working at UBC focussing on transportation and land management initiatives. That role evolved into transportation planning and she has been in her current position since this unit was established.

The community development unit aims to facilitate opportunities to animate campus spaces. Celebrate UBC, one of the organization's most successful initiatives, was a series of events varying from collegial pop-up sporting events to mini-concert series.

"I don't think we can measure success by the number of people who attended the event but rather by the lasting memories and experiences that it creates for those who attend," said Jolly.

The largest event that the team has ever done, the Harvest Feast, was initially developed to foster connections between the campus community and beyond. It was focused on strengthening opportunities around social sustainability and was held as part of UBC Ripple Effect, a broader sustainability engagement campaign on campus. Due to the dedicated partners -- especially the AMS and UBC Food Services -- the event was largely successful because of, according to Jolly, the "lasting impression[s] with many people and [the] desire to explore opportunities to continue the tradition moving forward."

The team is currently finding ways to leverage the upcoming UBC Centennial celebration and UBC's well-being initiative in addition to the delivery of community programs. Jolly's team is focusing on delivering community programs such as the Youth and Kids Fit programs, the community grant programs and building on the partnerships with the academic facilities on campus.

In addition to upcoming events and programs, the community development unit oversees the U-Pass program, the SEEDS program, the sustainability engagement program, the sustainability coordinator program, public space bookings and filming permissions.

"[It] leads to enhancing vibrancy on campus and making our space available for our students to occupy and to do cool things outside in our public realm," Jolly said.

One of the most anticipated public spaces at UBC is the new SUB. When looking at ways to bring vibrancy to this space, they held an Ideas Fair. At this point, the design decisions had already been made but it was input on the opportunities for programming in those spaces that they were looking for. Jolly encourages and invites students to help them leverage our public realm.

"We have a great team dedicated to all of these components and all of them combined are enhancing the UBC experience, supporting the academic mission, and creating extraordinary campus experiences."

Correction: A previous version of this article referred to Carole Jolly as the director of community planning. In fact, she is the director of community development. The Ubyssey regrets the error.