NAIT receives $5 million donation from student association

NAIT has received a $5 million donation from its own student association, the largest in the school's history.

'We are so incredibly proud of the relationship that we have developed with our students and their support'

Glenn Feltham, president of NAIT, thanks members of the student association for an unprecedented $5 million donation. (Zoe Todd/CBC)

NAIT has received a $5 million from its own student association, the largest donation in the school's history.

The student association, NAITSA, announced the unprecedented donation on Thursday during the grand opening of NAIT's new Centre for Applied Technology.

"It's just a great opportunity for our student association to connect with NAIT, to create a great relationship that way," said John Perozok, the interim president of NAITSA. 

"It allows us to grow our student association, it allows NAIT to grow in other ways with the donation, and it will benefit students in the future."

Perozok said the donation will give students more control over what their school invests in. For instance, part of the donation will pay for tripling NAITSA's office space on campus.
John Perozok, the acting president of NAIT's student association, says donating $5 million to the school will give students more control over what their school invests in. (Zoe Todd/CBC)

NAITSA plans to pay out the $5 million in stages, starting with a $2 million commitment in 2016 and then annual $600,000 installments until 2021. 

The first $600,000 dollars are intended to fund student enhancement, updated campus card technology, and to grow the school's learning and teaching commons. Following payments don't have a specific purpose yet, Perozok said.

"We didn't want to earmark anything now because we don't know what students will need in the future," he said.

Students pay $120 per semester to NAITSA through mandatory fees that are included in their tuition. 

The student association held a February referendum asking students whether they wanted to donate $5 million of those funds to the school. About one in five students cast a ballot, resulting in a 93 per cent vote in favour of the donation.

NAIT's president, Glenn Feltham, said the generosity of students is paying for their school's future.

"We are so incredibly proud of the relationship that we have developed with our students and their support for the institution," he said.

"We work so wonderfully with our students."

Thursday's donation isn't a first for NAITSA. The association gifted $2.5 million to the school in 2001 to support new developments including the new Centre for Applied Technology.