Gathering Place

Shq'apthut (A Gathering Place)

Shq'apthut elders gathering

Shq'apthut (A Gathering Place) on the Nanaimo campus is the home of Services for Aboriginal Students (SAS). All campus community members are welcome at Shq’apthut.

It is a gathering place and home away from home for First Nations, Status, Non-Status, Métis, and Inuit students. Elders-in-Residence are available at Shq’apthut five days a week to assist you with matters that arise at each stage of your student experience. Shq’apthut is also a place where cultural, academic, recreational, and social activities are promoted and celebrated.

There are numerous feasts, success workshops, and other community events that we encourage all students to participate in throughout the year.

Rentals and Bookings

Shq'apthut (A Gathering Place) can be booked daily or hourly by VIU only. We are not taking outside bookings at this time. Donations are encouraged for outside bookings and a cost centre to cover any costs must be provided for internal bookings. Contact us by phone at 250.740.6510 or email us at for more information or to check available booking times.

Email us for more info

About our Totems

Three majestic totem poles grace the entrance to Shq’aphut (A Gathering Place). The $50,000 project of the VIU Students’ Union (VIUSU) originally envisioned by VIUSU chairperson Sherry McCarthy began in the spring of 2014 with the selection of three carvers to represent First Nations with close ties and proximity to VIU.

As VIU operates in the tribal territories of the Kwakwaka’wakw, the Coast Salish and the Nuu-chah-nulth, the work of artists from these territories created the poles. 

The idea for a student-led totem pole initiative gained support from a broad base of student supporters and faculty to VIU President and Vice-Chancellor Ralph Nilson.


Donations can be made to Shq'apthut (A Gathering Place) by clicking the link below. If you have a question or want to get in touch with our team about donations, please email

Donate to Shq'apthut