Indigenous Mini-University Summer Program returns to Western

The primary goal of Western University’s Indigenous Youth Mini-University Summer Program is to inspire Indigenous youth to pursue postsecondary education through on-campus learning experiences led by Indigenous students, staff and faculty. Now in its eighth season, the Mini-University Summer Program is facilitated by Indigenous Services at the Student Development Centre (SDC) and has become a benchmark for experiential learning success at Western. 

The theme for this year’s session is ‘Wind’ and program participants will have the opportunity to learn about the formidable force of nature from various academic and cultural perspectives, including a comprehensive tour of Western Engineering’s WindEEE Dome – the world’s first-ever 3D wind testing chamber.

More than 30 Indigenous youth, ages 12-14, from across the country are expected to attend the first session of the summer program while approximately 20 more, ages 15-17, will be attending the second session. The first session runs from July 13-18 and introduces participants to academic programs such as Engineering, Kinesiology, Computer Science, Chemistry, Business, Medicine, Visual Art, Information Studies, and Languages. The second session, which runs from July 31-August 4, is a leadership program designed to enhance learning and development skills to better prepare students for a successful post-secondary education.

A strong cultural component has been infused throughout both weeks through teachings of the Seven Grandfathers while a variety of presenters, including youth counsellors from Western’s Indigenous Services, will share various Indigenous perspectives, lead identity-building activities and impart traditional teachings.

Both sessions culminate with a water walk that will act as an exclamation point for a weeklong focus on the importance of wind to human life. An Elder from one of the local First Nations communities will accompany the youth during their water walk and share teachings about wind and water. In addition, youth will also learn a traditional water song. The water walks will be held on the mornings of Thursday, July 17 and Sunday, August 3.

As part of the Indigenous Youth Mini-University Summer Program, Indigenous Services is also partnering with Me to We, a sister organization of Free the Children, to co-facilitate a day-long workshop on social awareness and positive change through leadership training. Representatives from Me to We will be working alongside Indigenous student-staff to create a safe and culturally-relevant learning experience for youth to explore their leadership potential. For more information on Me to We, please visit

For more information about the Mini-University Summer Program at Western University, please contact Indigenous Services’ Coordinator, Candace Brunette or Interim Youth Outreach Coordinator Trevor Phillips at 519-661-2111, ext. 85241 or visit

Jeff Renaud, Senior Media Relations Officer, 519-661-2111, ext. 85165,, @jeffrenaud99