Students at Trent University can find further support through You Belong Here - a new student support program launched during Orientation Week providing resources to students in the initial weeks of each academic term.
This collaborative initiative developed by Academic Advising, Academic Skills, and Student Affairs offers rich and multi-faceted programming that addresses intersecting elements of student belonging and wellbeing as well as academic retention and success.
“Belonging is an integral component of academic success; a sense of true belonging can have a significant positive impact on students and their experiences at university, while a lack of belonging can have a significant negative impact,” says Adam Guzkowski, an academic advisor with Peter Gzowski College and one of the leads with You Belong Here. “You Belong Here was created to foster inclusion and wellbeing for students. We hope to meet students where they are, help students build on their strengths while they build peer and community connections, and ensure that all students can learn and thrive in environments that fully accept, include, and empower them!”
The program includes four weekly interactive group sessions where students can enjoy conversation, food, and active learning about using strengths, starting assignments, coping with stress, degree planning, learning from feedback, accessing campus supports, and more.
Under the umbrella of You Belong Here, students will be able to access the full breadth of resource, identity, and support groups available at Trent, including supports specifically for first-generation students, racialized students, mature students, degree progression pathway students, and 2SLGBTQIA+ students.
You Belong Here also includes individual appointments with Academic Advising and Academic Skills, regular email check-ins, and one-on-one meetings with You Belong Here Community Connectors — upper year students with shared lived experience.
Finding a sense of belonging leads to academic excellence
A sense of belonging is incredibly important to young students. In an article for Psychology Today, Dr. Renee Engeln speaks about research that supports a sense of belonging being key to not only academic performance, but also emotional wellbeing.
“Students arrive at university with a wide range of identities, experiences, needs, interests, and goals. Sadly, many students have encountered explicit and subtle prejudice, marginalization, and negative social messaging that make them feel like they don’t belong in postsecondary education,” says Adam. “You Belong Here is about acknowledging those contexts and working proactively to shift those narratives. Our goal is to encourage university-wide conversations and commitments around diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, while providing tailored supports and resources designed to help students address a wide range of challenges before those challenges become significant obstacles to continuing or completing their studies”
Students interested in discovering a sense of belonging and further academic supports can sign up for a You Belong Here session online.