Vancouver Island University raising money for students affected by pandemic

Ashley Sandhu is a student wellness promoter with Vancouver Island University's (VIU) Talk to Me mental health and wellness program. This year, the university’s Giving Tuesday campaign focuses on supporting students who are mentally and financially impacted by the pandemic. // PHOTO COURTESY OF VIU
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The Vancouver Island University (VIU) community is raising money this month to support students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The institution said it decided to dedicate this year’s Giving Tuesday to students with reduced income due to the pandemic. VIU supported 1,300 students earlier this year.

“I reached out for assistance with daily living expenses for myself and my child. I was nervous at first to ask, but the process was welcoming and successful,” said Lisa, a first-year nursing student whose name has been changed to protect her identity. 

“I am now able to focus entirely on my studies and not worry about how or if I can pay for my living expenses. I want to say thank you to VIU for making this possible and allowing me to continue to reach my educational goals.”

Giving Tuesday is a global movement that falls on the Tuesday following Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The campaign runs from Nov. 16 – Dec. 1.

The initiative will raise funds for the newly created VIU Mental Health Fund, which will provide mental health and wellness programs to students. One program offered is the student-led Talk to Me program, which promotes mental health and well-being through peer-driven connection activities.

“Sometimes students feel more comfortable talking to another student, rather than an employee,” said Ashley Sandhu, a second-year nursing student and student wellness promoter. 

“Our events aim to get students talking to each other and reaching out for support when they need it. This year it’s more important than ever, students are feeling isolated and really missing those face-to-face interactions with their instructors and other students.”

Three quarters of students who participated in a Talk to Me event reported that their mood increased afterwards, according to VIU.

Donations can be made at the VIU Giving Tuesday page or by calling David Forrester, VIU advancement manager, at (250) 618-1319, beginning Nov. 16.

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