The student mental health conversation continues
Members of the campus community gathered in person and online to keep the student mental health conversation going on Wednesday.
The Student Mental Health Forum was held yesterday in the Humanities Theatre, where students, staff, faculty and alumni learned about the progress being made on the President's Committee on Student Mental Health (PAC-SMH) recommendations as they are implemented by the Committee on Student Mental Health (CoSMH) in partnership with key stakeholders across campus.
Vice-President, Academic & Provost Jim Rush was the master of ceremonies of the event, which featured remarks by President Feridun Hamdullahpur, Director of Campus Wellness Walter Mittelstaedt, Professor John Hirdes, chair of CoSMH, and CoSMH student representatives Ayana Kawe and Megan Crouch.
"We have to create an environment at this University that truly understands and acknowledges mental health," said Feridun Hamdullahpur in his opening remarks. "Thousands of our members, students, staff, faculty, have made it abundantly clear that you want to make Waterloo a supportive environment."
"It’s great to see such important leadership in this university in tackling this issue head-on," said CoSMH chair John Hirdes. "I’ve been very heartened and grateful for the support we’ve gotten from across campus for the participation we’ve had in the CoSMH committee."
Hirdes highlighted the connections that the University has established both on and off campus in support of student mental health. "It’s important for us to be a part of a broader mental health system that the University can connect with.”
He also outlined how the CoSMH has been meeting regularly to prioritize the 36 recommendations made by the PAC-SMH committee, 44 percent of which are either completed or in the midst of completion.
Director of Campus Wellness Walter Mittelstaedt gave a high-level view of the increased resources that have been brought to bear to improve the student mental health environment on campus, which included $1.2 million in funding that is being used to add additional counselling staff, support increased mental health training for faculty and staff to assist students in distress, as well as increased communications efforts to get resources into the right hands across campus.
Mittelstaedt reported that this year, more than 1,000 campus community members have taken some sort of mental health training on campus, and more than 1,700 students have attended various mental health workshops, including those focused on coping skills.
CoSMH student representatives Ayana Kawe and Megan Crouch shared personal stories about their own mental health journeys as students. Kawe, who represented international students on the mental health committee, said that advice he'd learned from a physics teacher about university life, "don't go through it alone," had served him well on campus as he highlighted the number of organizations and services available to meet the needs of students. Crouch, a PhD candidate who represented graduate students on CoSMH, spoke about the issue of isolation faced by graduate students as they work in their areas of expertise, and encouraged students to reach out to the committee, saying that "by sharing with representatives about your own experience, you can help drive the implementation process and create a safer and healthier community for all."
President Hamdullahpur then signed the Okanagan Charter, committing the University to a collaborative framework for promoting health and wellness of students and the broader campus community, with a priority focus on mental health.
A question and answer period followed, moderated by Provost Jim Rush, that saw students, faculty, and staff members pose questions to the forum's speakers on such topics as change management, things that the University might have to "unlearn" in order to improve mental health on campus, the impact of universal design on learning and instruction, and how the University community at large can help with the next steps on improving mental health on campus.
At the close of the formal proceedings, Provost Rush ushered attendees to the nearby Don Craig Atrium in the School of Accounting and Finance for an open house session that featured displays of many of the student mental health initiatives on campus as well as CoSMH resources and more information.
United Way's Souper Thursday and Thrive Walk for Mental Health
A message from the University of Waterloo United Way campaign and Thrive Week.
Get in some steps, eat a healthy lunch, and support local mental health initiatives. Can you believe it’s possible to do all three of these things during your Thursday lunch?
Work up your appetite today at the Thrive Walk for Mental Health and then purchase a bowl of soup at United Way’s Souper Thursday. Whether you show your support for mental health by joining the walk or by donating to United Way, we thank you.
Thrive week Walk for Mental Health
Please remember to wear your Thrive t-shirt today! The Thrive Walk for Mental Health will be departing from STC at noon, rain or shine. Join your friends and colleagues for a walk around Ring Road to show your support for people living with mental health concerns. We encourage you to sign-up for this walk and join us afterwards for a warm bowl of soup, chat with campus leaders, and support our campus and broader community.
Today from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. celebrity chefs will be serving homemade soup in STC main hall. There will be gluten free and vegan options available. A minimum of $5.00 is suggested for donation. Proceeds go to United Way Waterloo Region Communities and supports agencies like KW Counselling Services.
Swing by STC to be served a bowl of soup by one of our celebrity chefs:
Feridun Hamdullahpur, President and Vice-Chancellor, Jim Rush, Professor, Vice President Academic and Provost, Roly Webster, Director of Athletics and Recreation, Jason Coolman, Associate Vice-President, Development & Alumni Relations, Kurt MacMillan, Vice-President, Operations and Finance, Federation of Students, Kelly McManus, Senior Director, Community Relations and Events, Norah McCrae, Associate Provost, Cooperative and Experimental Education, Sharon Lamont, Director, Organizational Services, Dana Porter Library, Maureen Jones, Director, Student Awards and Financial Aid, James Skidmore, Associate Professor, German and Slavic Studies, and Kim Gingerich, Executive Officer, Academic.
Library celebrates Open Access Day
The University's Open Scholarship Committee is hosting Open Access Day today. This annual conference is a day filled with speakers and workshops discussing the methods, benefits and challenges of Open Access, and the services and resources available to scholars within the Library and across the University. This year’s keynote speaker is Bianca Wylie, an open government advocate, Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in the Global Economy program and co-founder of Tech Reset Canada.
This free event is open to all students, staff and faculty, and participants may attend all or some of the sessions.
The conference is being held as part of Open Access Week, which celebrates open scholarship in its many forms.
Open Access (OA) is scholarly content freely available to anyone with an Internet connection, without barriers. Among other benefits, OA provides researchers with higher impact for their published work, students are relieved of high journal subscription costs and the public gets access to research often funded by their taxes.
All Open Access Week events are free and open to all students, staff and faculty at University of Waterloo.
CTE releases accessibility in teaching resource; other notes
"According to the June 2018 Canadian University Survey Consortium survey of graduating students, 22 percent of graduating students in Canada self-identify as having a disability," says a note from the Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE). "It is interesting to note that, among those with a disability, 36 percent require accommodation."
The CTE is pleased to share its new resource: Accessibility in Teaching. Aligning with the University of Waterloo’s commitment to barrier-free accessibility for persons with disabilities, this webpage provides practical resources for designing and implementing accessible instruction. Accessible instructional practices aim to address the diverse needs of learners.
Accessibility in Teaching is for anyone who is designing and teaching courses, or facilitating workshops and other instructional sessions on campus. CTE will continue to update this page as they develop and become aware of additional resources. For questions about this webpage or accessible instruction in general, contact CTE's Faculty Liaison, Christine Zaza.
The Student Success Office wants to make you a star! The SSO is organizing a photo shoot on Tuesday, November 6 and is looking for parent and student subjects, particularly Waterloo employees who have a student (or students) attending Waterloo who might be interested in participating. The focus of the shoot is to capture images to help promote services and resources offered by the Student Success Office.
Both student and parent need to be available on November 6 and the time commitment is about an hour. The photos will be used on Waterloo websites, posters, social media, and other print materials.
If you are interested, fill out the form on the SSO's doodle poll and be sure to include your name and email in the proper field.
The SSO will send participants some of the photo files after the photo shoot.
Sustainability Action Fund open for applications: Have an idea to make the campus a little greener? Students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to submit project proposals to the Sustainability Action Fund (SAF) to advance Waterloo’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy. The SAF was launched in late 2017 and has kick started projects that reduce waste, support sustainable transportation, educate on sustainability, and more.
Projects should be between $2,000 and $30,000 and align with Waterloo’s sustainability objectives. Applications must be submitted by November 16, and successful projects will be determined by the President’s Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability.
Visit the Sustainability website for all the application details and to see previously funded projects.