Faculty of Arts Happiness Campaign
Donna McKinnon, Cindy Welsh, and Marcie Whitecotton-Carroll created the “Happiness Campaign” to promote student mental health and wellness through happiness. This campaign aims to share the impacts of research that intersect with mental health and wellness, cultivate engagement within the Faculty of Arts, create an opportunity for students to engage in positivity, and an opportunity to share mental health and wellness resources. Through the Healthy University Strategic Plan (HUSP) the Happiness Campaign engages in supporting personal development and strengthening community action. It brings awareness to the importance of mental health among students, staff, and faculty through creating conversations.
Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Student Services Team
Dr. Dion Brocks, Dr. Ravina Sanghera, Mrs. Dallyce Bialowas, and Ms. Angela dela Cruz make up the Pharmacy Student Service Team that has organized various wellness initiatives that has created a powerful bond within the Faculty of Pharmacy. They have championed a mentorship initiative that builds a professional relationship between students and faculty advisors; they embody what it means to work for and with people. They host Pharmily Forums that allows for safe conversations and further sharing of ideas for the betterment and wellness of the students. The Pharmacy Student Service Team has allowed pharmacy students to easily access physical and social supports, and celebrates the success of students and staff.
Juanita Gnanapragasam is a student who enhances the campus community through food by creating access for all students to continue their ethnic and dietary practices. The relationships that she has built with peers has allowed for her to create initiatives and programs that can best suit them, from initiating the “What Makes You Happy” campaign in 2017 with UofA Compliments to piloting the Grocery Express Bus with the Campus Food Bank, she has found ways to contribute to the overall health on campus. Juanita has built a community where students can thrive and is continually motivated to ensure the student experiences are heard.
As the Associate Dean in the Undergraduate Student Services in the Faculty of Education, Maryanne Doherty has encouraged her peers and students to find a sense of fun and joy in school and life. She began the first Health and Physical Education Masters of Education Cohort that has impacted students to grow in personal and professional development. Through creating a supportive environment, she has allowed these students to create and maintain a supportive and healthy environment within the faculty.
Mason Schindle started the FentaNIL Project which aims to ameliorate the detrimental impact of the synthetic opioid crisis in Edmonton. Through personal experiences, this project is near and dear to Mason. The goal of this project is (1) educate campus and community members on the opioid epidemic and harm reduction strategies, (2) train campus and community members how to identify and respond to overdose, (3) distribute free naloxone kits to campus and community members and (4) reduce the stigmatization attached to drug users. Since starting, their involvement in the campus community has allowed for over 180 Lister Residence Staff and St. Joseph’s College student-staff to be trained in the opioid crisis and harm reduction strategies and thus created a dialogue for students and staff to mitigate the stigma around drug and substance use.
As a student in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Paul Barber has created a dialogue to decrease the stigma around mental health by creating social spaces outside the medical curriculum and launching podcasts around mindfulness. He advocates for consideration around curricular composition and flexibility to support student wellbeing. “The Monologues of Mental Health” provides a platform for medical students to share their own struggles in efforts to create a much needed dialogue around mental health; the ultimate goal is to support students to reach out for help. He is working towards changing the culture in medicine to be more kind and compassionate toward peers who are struggling.
Victor Do is a student in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry whose leadership within the faculty evolved the learning environment for students. In the past year he has created the Health Promoting Learning Environment Committee which developed a strategic plan that will inform curricular and institutional decisions that support student wellbeing. To reveal the stigma and barriers to mental health, he has encouraged his peers to seek out support. He has inspired both peers and faculty to advance practices and cultures within the learning environment of students in the faculty.