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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."

Doug 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.

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