- College of the North Atlantic (CNA) continues its path to ensure that its campus culture reflects and practices the ideals of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).
During the week of Sept. 13-17 across all CNA campuses, there will be several activities that are focused on embracing and celebrating EDI, as well as supporting underrepresented groups, such as indigenous, persons with disabilities, women, international, and 2SLGBTQ+ communities.
Kicking off the week on Monday, Sept. 13 will be a college-wide raising of the Progress Flag (wall mounted in public spaces where courtesy flagpoles aren’t available).
Coinciding with this event will also be the launching of a CNA initiative called Champions for Change. Students and staff were asked to sign a banner to show their commitment to this initiative.
Last year, a committee was struck to develop a plan as to how CNA’s employees and students could identify with and have input into building an EDI culture.
One idea was to create a logo, so they turned to their student body with a contest to design a logo that demonstrates the EDI principles. Its mission statement states: “College of the North Atlantic is committed to fostering an inclusive learning environment that celebrates and encourages diversity and inclusion in which individual differences are recognized, supported, and respected.”
Jessica Roche, now a Graphic Design graduate from CNA’s Prince Philip Drive campus, took those ideas and set our creating her design. was selected the winner of the contest. The committee unveiled its logo at the college’s Leadership meeting at the start of the fall semester.
Roche says she was compelled to submit a design as these values are important to her.
“Diversity brings along new ideas, open-mindedness and understanding,” Roche said. “This is so important, especially in school and workplace environments, as it leads to innovation and new discoveries.”
Roche came up with the idea for the logo while sketching some ideas by hand. The end result she explains represents many facets, including LGBTQ+, diversity, inclusion, equality, and change.
“When I think of champions, I am reminded of the Laurel Wreath Award that is given to victors,” she said.
Referring to the final design, Roche explains that the stairs represent the growth and progress that comes with change. Two hands uniting in the shape of a heart represents diversity and equality, along with love and understanding.
Roche was happy her creation was chosen among the others, and she is proud that her design will be used to represent something so near and dear to her heart.
“Inclusion is important as it creates belonging and people are their best selves when they feel included, respected and heard,” she said. “It is undeniable that it is a requirement in all aspects of life.”
Liz Kidd, CNA’s President and CEO, couldn’t agree more, and it’s only the beginning of many changes in store when it comes to the college’s core values
and its work with Diversity NL.
“The end goal is to provide awareness, understanding and acceptance so that CNA is a place where no matter how you gender identify or gender express, there are no labels,” Kidd said. “In fact, we need to celebrate our differences. We are committed to promoting inclusion and creating safe spaces for students and employees. Diversity, equity, and inclusion is a journey, and with continued support and engagement, the goal can be achieved. You CAN make a difference at CNA no matter who you are.”
Originally from Holyrood, NL, Roche got a taste for graphic design early on.
“When I was in middle school, I competed in the secondary provincial Skills Canada Newfoundland and Labrador competition,” she recalled. “My teacher handed me Adobe Photoshop on CD-ROM and I was hooked.”
After completing her Bachelor of Arts Degree at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), Roche spent some time travelling and working in Asia, Europe and Australia. She then decided to pursue her love for graphic design and enrolled at CNA.
“No matter which way my career pulled me, I’ve always had a passion for graphic design and finally decided to make it my career.”
College of the North Atlantic