The partnership between RUSI and University of Victoria’s (UVIC) History Department started some 8 years ago. Over the years, RUSI has supported the Military Oral History (MOH) program in many ways, including; the participation of RUSI members interviewed by the students, an annual grant of $1000, involvement in several MOH Conferences, and other general letters of support.
Since its inception, RUSI has helped to provide over 70 students with an opportunity to record the personal histories of well over 150 veterans. This very successful outreach program is in direct support of a key objective of our Constitution to promote essential links with the broader community.
The Financial Issue
This past year, the continuation of the program became more problematic. While UVIC leadership remained enthusiastic about offering the course, due to severe funding cuts, the university could no longer meet the $6350 expenditure. The Board of Directors alerted members to this situation at the March 2012 AGM, as well as in subsequent Newsletters and e-mails.
Over the past summer, a successful campaign was launched to raise funds for the course. Former MOH students and RUSI members also wrote several articles in the local press. Due to the generosity of several RUSI members and outside organizations, a total of $ 7820 was raised. As a result, the university was again able to offer the course and further pledged to finance the course every other year. The course was given in January 2013 with 9 students who interviewed 23 veterans on a variety of topics.
The success of the program also depends to a large degree on the willingness of RUSI members, as well as non-RUSI members, to meet with the students and share their stories and experiences. The three Service Coordinators also play an essential role in recruiting willing veterans. On behalf of the Institute, I would like to thank the many people who do volunteer their time in this way.
The Ongoing Challenge
Given that the university has committed to fund the MOH course only every other year, RUSI will need to explore options that can put the program on a sustainable financial basis. Your Board of Directors will address this issue over the coming year.
Submitted at the 13 March 2013 AGM by:
Director, Military Oral History Program