Caring Communities Initiative

The Caring Communities Initiative invites students, staff, and faculty at the University of Alberta to create opportunities to connect, care and share. This initiative is for anyone who wants to increase wellness on campus by connecting with others.

While this initiative gives a few suggestions of ways to connect as a community we acknowledge that there are many community initiatives on campus that contribute to our community’s well-being.  

Project team:

  • Counselling and Clinical Services
  • Residence Life
  • Wellness Supports

Caring Community Opportunities

Toolkit: Discussions for Grief and Loss during a Pandemic

Acknowledging experiences of grief and loss can help us to process how we are doing in the moment and reflect on what we need to help ourselves through this time. Doing this with people we know and trust can help us care for ourselves and each other. 

Who is this for: 
Students, staff and faculty at the University of Alberta

Time Commitment: 
1-3 hours for organizers
1 hour for participants

Creating space to talk about our losses can normalize the experience. Hosting group conversations around grief and loss is one powerful way to create a space of sharing and connecting with others. This may be your student group, people accessing your service, or a group of friends or colleagues.  

To assist you in hosting discussion groups, we created a toolkit to guide you through this process. The toolkit includes tips on how to prepare and facilitate an online discussion in a way that cares for peoples’ experiences.

Request Toolkit


Gratitude Project

Who is this for: 
Students groups and associations at the University of Alberta

Time Commitment:
2-3 hours for organizers
5 minutes for participants

Practicing gratitude always has a positive impact and during public health restrictions, it can remind people that they are connected to community. The Gratitude Project has been created to provide an easy way for your student group/association to encourage each other through gratitude. If you sign up you will receive everything you will need, including: 

  • Nomination form for members to recognize other students
  • Social media promotion assets to promote the activity 
  • Fillable cards to send to recipients 

Request Gratitude Toolkit

Honouring Grief & Gratitude

Who is this for:
Students, staff, and faculty at the University of Alberta

Time Commitment:
5 minutes

You are invited to anonymously share your experience associated with COVID-19. This could be something you are grieving right now. Loss may be related to expectations and hopes for school, cancelling a celebration, not getting to see someone you care about, financial security, a decrease in your sense of certainty – or something else that reflects your experience.

It may be something you are grateful for. A person, ritual, place, or experience that is helping you move through this time. Expressing gratitude has been shown to help people move through difficult times.  

Experiences will be varied and unique between people and it all belongs. By participating in this collective project, you can help normalize the feeling of grief, increase mindfulness, and encourage our community to be kind and supportive to themselves and others at this time. Responses to this form will be published online as a way of acknowledging our collective and individual experiences. 

Submit to the Project


It may be helpful for your group or your members to be made aware of the various resources related to wellness and support that are available either on- or off-campus. There are also learning opportunities available for individuals and groups to strengthen their capacity to support their members.

Social Connection Resources
Online Support Information
  • UASU Cares - an interactive wellness site designed to connect you with the resources you need, at any point in your University career 
  • WellTrack - a free online self-help program to help learn about coping with stress, anxiety, and depression 
  • EmpowerMe - 24/7 mental health and wellness service that seeks to contribute to a resilient student community by supporting existing on-campus and Studentcare mental health resources 
  • Graduate Student Assistance Program - services available for graduate students that include both confidential counselling and various health promotion programs 
  • U of A Current Students List of Resources - a link to bookmark that lists campus resources ranging from academics, health, finances, and career/professional development 
  • Health & Wellness Resources for Students Residing Outside of Alberta - outlines the various programs available and access to the services for students who are living outside of Alberta 
  • Virtual Drop-In Support - Crisis volunteers to virtually support students Monday - Friday, 11 am -3 pm 
  • Online Crisis Chat - available weekdays 6 -10 pm, weekends 12 - 4 pm
On-Campus Resources
  • Counselling & Clinical Services - free and confidential Psychological and Psychiatric services for a range of student mental health concerns 
  • First People’s House - provides support and services to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit learners to achieve personal and academic growth 
  • Wellness Supports - various staff who specialize in navigating on and off-campus resources, and provide various levels of support for improving students’ health and wellbeing 
  • Peer Support - trained student volunteers who offer peer support, crisis management, information and resources, and a safe place to talk
  • The Landing - safe and inclusive space for gender and sexuality-diverse community members offering peer mentorship, resources, and referrals for students working through issues around gender and sexual identity-related stressors
  • The Sexual Assault Centre- free and confidential counselling and support for individuals affected by sexual assault, sexual harassment, relationship violence, or stalking 
  • International Student Services - supports international students as they navigate the challenges of adjusting to life in Canada.