Brandon post-secondary institutions are back with a ‘Big Hello’ again this year

Assiniboine President Mark Frison, Mayor Rick Chrest, and BU President David Docherty stand in front of City Hall.
Assiniboine President Mark Frison, Mayor Rick Chrest, and BU President David Docherty stand in front of City Hall.

The ‘Big Hello’ is back! Scattered among the many election signs on boulevards this year are some bright yellow ones with a welcoming message for everyone — a ‘Big Hello’ to greet students returning to campus for the fall semester in Brandon.

Assiniboine Community College and Brandon University are teaming up again this year to help the community roll out the welcome mat for students starting their fall semesters, and to celebrate the community partnerships and economic spinoffs driven by those who choose to study here.

Through boulevard signs, window cards, and a social media and advertising campaign, Brandon’s two post-secondary institutions are together highlighting and celebrating the importance of students to the community.

This year’s campaign, themed for the second year in a row as “The Big Hello,” continues to be a showcase for the ongoing partnership between the two institutions as well as the benefits that they — and especially their students — bring to the city of Brandon and wider Westman.

“When students choose Brandon as their post-secondary destination, they share their drive and energy with our entire community,” said BU President David Docherty. “During their studies, they also live, work and play here. They make memories and form lasting relationships. Many put down new roots here. They help build our community, they help energize our culture, and they help drive our economy.”

“We all benefit from having such a strong post-secondary presence in Brandon,” said Assiniboine President Mark Frison. “We are attracting people from around the region and internationally for the education and training they need to help meet the demands of the Manitoba labour market. Coming together as a community to welcome them is a fantastic start to that lasting relationship.”

The “Big Hello” campaign is being boosted by people, community organizations and businesses who have volunteered to host the distinctive signage in their offices or storefront, or who have placed signs in their yards or windows.

A mailout with window cards included has been sent to many local businesses and community groups, but any organizations that want to participate can request a window sign or boulevard sign be delivered to them simply by emailing either institution at or Residents can also email a request to come pick up a yard sign, or watch for full-page ads in the Brandon Sun on Wednesday and Thursday next week that are suitable for posting.

Anyone or any business that puts up one of the signs, takes a photo and shares it to social media while tagging Assiniboine or Brandon University will be entered to sink their claws into a free Paw Prize Pack.

This year’s “Big Hello” continues to highlight the ongoing tradition of collaboration between Assiniboine and BU — a tradition that includes formal agreements as well as informal and collegial cooperation.

With ongoing partnerships that include comprehensive credit transfers for students, including a joint program in Public History, plus shared residence space for students, and competitive sports teams, Assiniboine and BU continue to make Brandon a city where students can find the options, flexibility and amenities that they are looking for when pursuing their post-secondary education.

Many of the opportunities and resources that are developed for students are also community resources as well. Supported by large student populations, BU and Assiniboine are able to offer facilities and events for everyone — from the annual events held at the Manitoba Institute of Culinary Arts at Assiniboine’s North Hill Campus to BU’s performing arts spaces, research laboratories and the Healthy Living Centre.