On a snowy evening, the Trent University community gathered at the Seasoned Spoon for the winter launch of the You Belong Here program. The launch brought together students, staff, and faculty who shared their own experiences with finding a sense of belonging and the barriers they have faced.
The discussion was facilitated by a panel of experts, including Dr. Karleen Pendleton Jimenez, associate dean of Trent Durham and faculty in the School of Education and Gender & Social Justice department; Chisomo Msosa, racialized student therapist in Trent Counselling Services; Alexx Bodden, TCSA (Trent Central Student Association) executive & Freedom Lounge ambassador; and You Belong Here community connector and peer supporter, Sharon Walter. The conversation between guests was moderated by Peter Gzowski College academic advisor, Adam Guzkowski.
“By bringing together students, staff, and faculty to openly discuss their experiences and challenges, we aim to create a more equitable and supportive environment that has a profound positive impact on their academic success and overall wellbeing,” said Lawrence Lam, acting associate vice-president of Students. “This program is a testament to Trent University's commitment to student success and we welcome everyone to participate and get involved in these important conversations and initiatives.”
The panelists shared their hard truths about the challenges they have faced in the post-secondary environment and their ideas for creating a more equitable and supportive community. They spoke with event attendees about what belonging means and why it is so important for overall wellbeing and academic success.
The You Belong Here program is a collaborative effort by Academic Advising, Academic Skills, the Colleges of Trent, and Student Affairs to offer a range of programs and activities that address the intersecting elements of student belonging and wellbeing, as well as academic retention and success. The initiative is based on the belief that a sense of true belonging is crucial to academic success, and that it can have a profound positive impact on students' university experiences.
The You Belong Here winter launch was just the beginning of a series of events and initiatives aimed at promoting student belonging and wellbeing at Trent University. Everyone is welcome to participate and get involved in these important conversations and programs. To learn more about You Belong Here events this term, be sure to check the Trent University website for updates.