Embark Student Corp funds food security initiatives at VIU

basket of vegetables

March 13, 2024 - 1:45pm

The $400,000 gift will fund student-driven solutions, emergency financial aid and food banks on two of VIU’s campuses.

An increasing number of students are being forced to choose between achieving their educational goals and basic living essentials due to the rising costs of living.

A new initiative funded through the generosity of Embark, an education savings and planning company, aims to address student hunger issues for Vancouver Island University (VIU) students. The $400,000 investment through the Embark Student Foundation Major Grant Program will fund:

  • student-driven research,
  • food security initiatives aimed at meeting immediate needs,
  • cross-campus coordination to seek sustainable solutions to student hunger and
  • increased access to emergency funding supports.

VIU is one of seven universities receiving funding from Embark for access to education initiatives.

“The Embark Student Foundation Major Grant Program marks our commitment to making the path to and through post-secondary school easier for all Canadians,” said Andrew Lo, President and CEO, Embark. “By supporting these innovative programs, we hope to enrich the lives of students and give them the skills they need to thrive both today and in the future.”

VIU’s initiative gets students involved in seeking actionable solutions to student hunger. Research awards will go to student groups to come up with innovative approaches to reduce food insecurity.

Funding will enhance two existing initiatives on campus – the VIU Students’ Union’s free breakfast bar and Give a Meal, a voucher program for students in need – as well as the Student Access Fund, a low-barrier initiative that provides financial support for students in crisis. The university will create food pantries for students in discreet locations on the Nanaimo and Cowichan campuses. 

Finally, the work will encourage coordination across the university to create sustainable solutions to this ongoing issue.

“At VIU, we are committed to enhancing access to education because we know that a university education opens doors to a better future for all,” said Dr. Deborah Saucier, VIU President and Vice-Chancellor. “Thank you to Embark Student Corp. for supporting this innovative program. We believe the magic of this initative is in putting students at the heart of the solution, providing valuable hands-on research opportunities as well as immediate and longer-term solutions.”  

To learn more about the Embark Student Foundation Major Grant Program, view the Embark release.


Media Contact:

Jenn McGarrigle, External Communications Manager, Vancouver Island University

C: 250.619.6860 | E: Jenn.McGarrigle@viu.ca | T: @VIUNews

The VIU community acknowledges and thanks the Snuneymuxw, Quw’utsun, Tla’amin, Snaw-naw-as and Qualicum First Nation on whose traditional lands we teach, learn, research, live and share knowledge. 

About The Embark Student Foundation Major Grant Program

The Embark Major Grant Program provides funding for innovative programs, initiatives or services that support student success before, during and beyond their post-secondary years. Through this grant program, Embark wishes to partner with post-secondary educational institutions in their efforts to advance access, agency and innovation that will empower students to take hold of their future. Grants of $250,000 to $500,000 are available annually. Efforts are made to represent all types of post-secondary educational institutions and regions in Canada. Applications for 2024 will be accepted starting in Q3 2024. For more information about the program, visit  https://embark.grantplatform.com/.

About Embark Student Corp.

Embark Student Corp. is Canada’s education savings and planning company. With over $6 billion in assets under management, the company is committed to empowering families along their post-secondary journeys by giving them the resources and tools they need to better plan and save for all that comes with an education. As a wholly owned subsidiary of Embark Student Foundation, a not-for-profit Canadian corporation, the company, registered as a Scholarship Plan Dealer across Canada, manages almost 600,000 RESPs for Canadians nationwide and helped approximately 53,600 students through post-secondary studies last year.

Tags: VIU Foundation | Announcements

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