VIU Focuses Fundraising Campaign on Helping Students Impacted by Pandemic

Ashley Sandhu is a VIU Student Wellness Promoter

Ashley Sandhu is a Student Wellness Promoter with VIU’s Talk to Me mental health and wellness program. This year, the University’s Giving Tuesday campaign focuses on supporting students who are mentally and financially impacted by the pandemic

November 13, 2020 - 7:30am

The University’s seventh annual Giving Tuesday campaign, which runs from November 16 to December 1, will target supports for students impacted financially and mentally by COVID-19.

Vancouver Island University (VIU) students, employees and community friends are teaming up to support our most vulnerable students on Giving Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday is a global movement for giving that falls on the Tuesday following Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Students who have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic will be the focus of VIU’s seventh annual Giving Tuesday campaign, which runs November 16 to December 1. For example, health and safety restrictions implemented earlier this year meant that many students experienced reduced employment hours or no employment at all.  

“Since March, VIU has supported more than 1,300 students with emergency funds to ensure they can continue their studies without interruption and a significant need still exists,” says William Litchfield, Executive Director of the VIU Foundation. “After delivering hundreds of bursaries in the month following our shift to online learning, stories starting pouring in from students who were able to buy groceries that month, were able to stay in their rental housing or were able to buy the technology resources they needed to finish their semesters remotely." 

Lisa*, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, is one such student who is in her first year of a nursing diploma.

“I reached out for assistance with daily living expenses for myself and my child,” she says. “I was nervous at first to ask, but the process was welcoming and successful. I am now able to focus entirely on my studies and not worry about how or if I can pay for my living expenses. I want to say thank you to VIU for making this possible and allowing me to continue to reach my educational goals.”

Mental health is a vital component of student success, life satisfaction and overall well-being, and the pandemic has also increased mental health challenges for students. Giving Tuesday will raise funds for the newly created VIU Mental Health Fund, which is delivering a variety of mental health and wellness programs and initiatives to students. One program offered is the student-led Talk to Me program, which promotes mental health and well-being through peer-driven connection activities. Three quarters of students who participated in an event reported that their mood increased afterwards. 

“Talk to Me is a student-led initiative, which is so important because sometimes students feel more comfortable talking to another student rather than an employee,” says Ashley Sandhu, a second-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing student and a Student Wellness Promoter. “Our events aim to get students talking to each other and reaching out for support when they need it. This year it’s more important than ever, students are feeling isolated and really missing those face-to-face interactions with their instructors and other students.”

Donations made for Giving Tuesday can have double the impact, as the VIU Foundation and challenge donors have made limited matching funds available to the campaign and 100% of every donation will go directly to the fund chosen by the donor. This year, several highlighted campaigns will be featured on VIU’s new crowdfunding initiative, the AIM Together platform. This platform allows donors to track the progress of their favourite campaign and easily share it with friends. All gifts made through AIM are eligible for a charitable receipt and no fees are charged.

Starting on Monday, November 16, make your gift online by credit card on the AIM Platform or the VIU Giving Tuesday homepage, or call David Forrester, VIU Advancement Manager, at 250.618.1319.

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MEDIA CONTACT: 

Jenn McGarrigle, External Communications Advisor, Vancouver Island University

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


Tags: Community Engagement | VIU Foundation | Announcements