Nelson's Shawn Morris earns prestigious honour during IABC/BC Bronze Quill Gala in Vancouver

June 21, 2012
The Nelson Daily
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Shawn Morris of Nelson has accomplished a lot in his life.

Avid outdoorsman, soccer player and professional photographer are just a few of his accomplishments.

However, the Nelsonite saw his name in lights during the IABC/BC Bronze Quill Gala Tuesday in Vancouver.

The BA Professional Communication student was recognized as the Student Communicator of the Year, earning the Award of Merit from the International Association of Business Communicators, British Columbia (IABC/BC).

Morris won the award for his work on a video intended to educate people about Royal Roads’ rich Coast Salish history and aboriginal ways of learning and teaching.

The nine-minute video, entitled Tse Tsa Watle: Coming Together in Interdependence, was produced as part of a class project. Morris led the project, but worked with three fellow students, Brett Blair, April Trigg and Matt Smith.

The video supports the university’s Tse Tsa Watle initiative, which brings together aboriginal and non-aboriginal people to collaborate on projects. A Hul’q’umi’num’ word, Tse Tas Watle means “people coming together to help one another.”

“The intent behind Tse Tsa Watle is to gather information that will be eventually used to indigenize part of the curriculum at Royal Roads,” Morris said in a Royal Roads University press release.

“The slogan, coming together through interdependence, is something that is hopefully utilized from the First Nations standpoint, from the educational standpoint and from the community standpoint. We want everybody to come together to learn from each other.”

The video includes excerpts from Tse Tsa Watle meetings at Royal Roads and photos collected from Coast Salish First Nations or taken by Morris, a graduate of Western Academy of Photography.

In the voiceover for the video, Morris gives a brief history of First Nations on the West Coast and an overview of aboriginal culture.

“With all the conflict that’s gone on between First Nations and white people, it’s nice to able to integrate some of their ways of life that might be beneficial to learners here, whether they’re coming from a different country, or right around the corner,” said the 37-year-old L.V. Rogers High School graduate.

The video was produced for a service-learning project, in which students assess the needs of a client and do a communications plan. In this case, the client was School of Communication and Culture’s Prof. Virginia McKendry and Royal Roads’ aboriginal relations co-ordinator Greg Sam, who are collaborating on the Tse Tsa Watle project.

“What I love about this project is the sense of solidarity and the good feeling it creates; feelings of kith and kin. I feel really connected to these students,” McKendry explained in the same press release, adding that Morris, like so many in his cohort, is a “star student” who lives his values through his academic and professional practice, contributing to making a better world even during an intense program of study.

“The IABC/BC Student Communicator of the Year awards young talent and rewards excellence in communication,” says Monica Hartanto, co-director of Student Services for IABC.

“We’re pleased to see students, like Shawn, demonstrate their ability to think strategically and develop a solution to meet the communication need.”

Watch the video at here