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With federal and provincial funding, Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) officially cut the ribbon on their brand new facility.

The $1.7 million Centre for Environmental and Economic Resilience opened on the fourth floor of CMU's north campus. The space, previously unused, has been transformed into a place for CMU's research as well as an incubator facility for community-based industry partners.

"It's a gesture at trying to invite folks within the CMU constituency but also outside CMU's constituency to imagine this place as a place that kind enact goals for social and ecological justices," explained James Magnus-Johnston, the director of the brand new centre. "It's more of a way of building on CMU's tradition, rather than departing from it."

Vice President Terry Schellenberg introduces speakers at the new Centre for ResilienceVice President Terry Schellenberg introduces speakers at the new Centre for ResilienceDoug Eyolfson, Member of Parliament for Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley, and the Honourable Ian Wishart, Minister of Education and Training, were on hand for the ribbon cutting, along with a number of CMU staff, students, and school partners. CMU President Dr. Cheryl Pauls says the newly renovated fourth floor is a gift to the school, which intends on using it regularly.

"If we can take those traditional values (of CMU) and then enact them in new ways, I think there is a whole lot of magic that can happen there," said Magnus-Johnston, who was grateful for the support of both governments.

The Centre for Environmental and Economic Resilience was funded by the Government of Canada, who provided $745,906 and the Government of Manitoba, who provided $522,605. CMU also contributed $522,605, which Dr. Pauls says will be paid off over a longer term to allow cheaper rent for startup companies who want to use the space. 

"I think there was a certain creativity that's alive in CMU that was waiting for some kind of expression like this, waiting to be channelled through something," Magnus-Johnston smiled.

Students, community businesses and startups will use the space to continue working on real-world problems.