New student support: Peninsula Co-op Award

Susan Down

The familiar Peninsula Co-op stations along Vancouver Island highways offer motorists a chance to refuel. Now the co-operative is reaching out to help Royal Roads University students who are doing some educational refueling as well.

The new Peninsula Co-op Award at Royal Roads University was established to provide a $1,000 scholarship to three students each year who have demonstrated leadership contributions to their communities.

Peninsula Co-op, whose core business includes gas stations, convenience stores and home heating, cites building strong communities as its mission and sees support for education as a good fit.

“Peninsula Co-op has a long history of providing scholarships. This rounds out nicely our involvement,” says Patti Hunter, Peninsula Co-op board member and chair of the member and community relations committee. She added that Royal Roads’ mission and its programs align with the co-op’s ideals.

The co-operative gives scholarships to the University of Victoria and Camosun College, but the award at Royal Roads is different in that it is aimed at learners at all stages, rather than only first-year students. At Royal Roads, the average student age is 41 and 70 per cent of graduate students are mid-career professionals.

As many alumni know, the Royal Roads experience can lead to profound changes, from career transitions to skill sets that create new, less expected opportunities.

Peninsula Co-op Board of Directors President Paul Hames knows firsthand the value of a Royal Roads education. A veteran Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer, he enrolled in Royal Roads’ first program—a master’s degree in leadership and training—in 1998 while he was posted in Ottawa.

“I was looking for the opportunity to take the next step,” Hames recalls. When he travelled to Victoria for the first residency, he took one look at the ocean and the weather and started thinking about how he could stay in BC.  He was hired as chief constable with the Central Saanich Police, retiring from that post in 2015. “My experience at Royal Roads opened my eyes to life-long learning,” he says.

His Royal Roads degree gave Hames the skills to explore new opportunities including a senior police leadership program, the chance to join a Canadian delegation travelling with a holocaust survivor to Auschwitz, and another trip with a group going to South Africa to share conflict resolution experience. 

“Moving ahead by giving back,” is Peninsula Co-op’s memorable ad slogan, one that Hames and Royal Roads heartily support.

“We’re always building future leaders,” Hames says.

Apply for the Peninsula Co-op Award.

To find out how you can start your own student award at Royal Roads, contact Amy Hinrichs in Advancement at 250-391-2529.