I am writing this from my home in Surrey, BC, on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish Nations of Katzie, Tsawwassen, Stolo, Wasanec, and Kwantlen.
I hope you all had a wonderful summer. Our Camp (Camp 5) took most of the summer off after holding our first in-person obligation ceremony in over 3 years in May 2022 at the Vancouver Convention Centre (VCC). This was followed in June 2022 by a well-attended online ceremony for those who couldn’t attend the in-person ceremony. I’m pleased to inform that our next in-person ceremony will be on March 30, 2023 (again at the VCC) and registrations are scheduled to open on November 1, 2022. For those students who graduate in spring of 2023, and for those post-graduate candidates who would like to participate in an in-person ceremony, we look forward to greeting you!
There will be information briefings as we meet with the student bodies in advance of the ceremony, these dates and locations will be announced.
Since this new wardenship at Camp 5 was appointed about 3 years ago, one thing has been clear. There has been a need for greater understanding and emphasis on issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion. We recognize that there have been concerns raised about some aspects of dated traditions of the Obligation Ceremony, a ceremony written by Kipling over 100 years ago. While certain aspects have been revised to include gender neutrality and general inclusion, some concerns remain.
Yet others feel that there is a great depth of value in the tradition – there is a long line of history that we build on as engineers in Canada, traditions of professionalism & excellence, honesty & integrity. So how do we move forward from here?
At Camp 5 we believe there is a path forward that says “Yes, and…” A path that acknowledges the history, the tradition and the past (Yes), while looking forward to the future, with diversity, inclusion and an open welcome for all (and). I believe the membership of Camp 5 ably demonstrates this. Our ceremonies have also taken very specific steps to ensure all cultures and traditions do feel welcome. Pamela Wolf, an alternate warden of Camp 5 and a faculty member at UBC is participating in a national committee that is reviewing the Obligation Ceremony in detail. We are looking for ways to make changes, while not throwing away our past. We want to welcome these changes in and not be afraid of them.
The purpose of attending an Obligation ceremony is to take into your hearts and minds words that bind you to your profession in an honourable way. We want to make sure that all candidates feel welcome in joining this tradition. These changes may not happen overnight – there is much consultation, listening, and consideration to be done – but I know the 100th year anniversary of the Calling of an Engineer is coming up in 2025 and we are looking forward to welcoming in change as we move forward together.
As always, if you have any questions, comments, suggestions or ideas, please feel free to reach out to me or the appropriate warden (see Contact Us) and we will do our best to answer (but first check the website to see if the answer is there).
Neil K. Hemrajani Singh, P.Eng.