Providing Trent students with a place to connect in Peterborough’s downtown community is the impetus behind a new partnership between Lady Eaton College (LEC) and Black Honey Coffee House and Bakery. Described as a creative and collaborative relationship between LEC and the downtown café, the union is representative of Trent University’s desire to create stronger ties with students and Peterborough’s downtown core.
“We are hoping this initiative will strengthen the student relationship with the college and reaffirm Peterborough’s traditional ties to Trent University,” said Dr. Michael Eamon, principal of Lady Eaton College, during the official opening of Lady Eaton College’s new space at Black Honey on Wednesday, September 18, 2012.
“We understand the importance of connecting students to the downtown and creating more opportunities for them to experience life in Peterborough’s core,” said Dr. Steven E. Franklin, Trent University’s president and vice-chancellor. “We want community engagement to be the number one priority at Trent. The synergy that will result from LEC and Black Honey is a great start.”
As a result of the new cooperative, students will be able to meet regularly with the principal, faculty and members of the student government, or just casually drop in to Black Honey to relax with friends. A special discount card is being offered to all current students of Lady Eaton College. It also presents an opportunity for other Black Honey customers to discover more about Lady Eaton College and Trent University.
Now in her fourth year at Trent and studying Biology, Nishka Wright is excited about the possibilities the new space will create for students. “It gives people an alternate method to communicate what’s going on and what they’re experiencing in a less formal setting. I like the downtown and I really enjoy being here. I think it’s a really positive move.”
Proudly wearing the bright yellow and blue LEC scarf, Dr. Eamon expressed the importance of engaging and connecting Trent students to the downtown in a meaningful and positive way. “Students are members of a college for their entire university experience, but it’s hard to feel involved in college life when you are physically separated from the campus. Lady Eaton College at Black Honey brings the college to where the students are.” Dr. Eamon also read a statement from Professor Tom Symons, hoping that students, staff and faculty will all take advantage of this opportunity that reflects the spirit in which the university was founded.
“From its very inception, Trent has recognized and celebrated the important role of Peterborough in the founding and enduring identity of the University,” read the statement from Professor Symons. “As such, it has strived to serve the community on many levels and, has in return, been well served by the community in a number of significant capacities – including its support for the place and contribution of students within the life of the downtown.”
A chef, entrepreneur and mother of three, Black Honey owner Lisa Dixon is renowned for her commitment to community in addition to her reputation for serving locally-grown food and 100% fair trade coffees and teas. “Michael is a long-time customer and he has this great energy and enthusiasm for his work and his students,” Ms. Dixon said. “When he approached me about creating a space for the students of Lady Eaton I thought it was a great idea. I went to university and I know how important it is to have places you can call your own; where you feel like you belong. We want the students to feel like this is their second home.”
Recognized by his students as someone who is “progressive” and has “great ideas”, Dr. Eamon echoed President Franklin’s enthusiasm and commitment to the new union between the University and Peterborough’s downtown. “This is a small step. But like all beginnings at Trent, they start out modestly and blossom into greatness.”
Lady Eaton College was founded in 1968 and is one of Trent University’s five colleges. Collegiate universities, like Trent, are rare in North America. Each college offers students a smaller community of friends, teachers and academic advisors within the larger educational setting.