SAITSA launched the first ever Student Support Centre on Wednesday, Nov. 20.
The goal of the centre is to “provide mental health resources and support to all SAIT students,” a press release on the opening stated.
Tegan Cochrane’s, SAITSA president, and Amanda Hanna, VP Student Life, were on hand for the opening of the centre, in room J105 in the Senator Burns Building. The idea was to create an inviting and welcoming environment, with comfortable sofas, television and games, where students could come, relax and seek help if the needed it.
With the $40,000 grant from the Alberta Student’s Executive Council, hard work, and full commitment, Cochrane and Hanna created a place where students can support each other.
Come and “take those five minutes for yourself,” said Hanna.
The grant was important to creating the centre, but Cochrane and Hanna said they were determined to create the peer-run Student Support Centre no matter what.
“Whether we get this grant or not we are going to make this centre happen,” said Cochrane. “This is something our students really need.”
“We had amazing help from the staff, and people from around SAIT campus,” says Cochrane.
“This place is for them, this is the students’ place,” said Cochrane, “It’s a place to learn how to have a good mental health.”
Cochrane hopes that the Student Support Centre becomes a comfortable place for students to be.
“We are supporting every interest, every value, every belief, every different way of life, we want everyone to know that it’s okay to be who you are and celebrate and support it,” said Hanna.
Colleen Lavender, internal communications specialist at SAIT, said “I think the fact that it is students speaking to students in this space is very important.”
“It’s another great place to go to feel supported, to feel that you can connect with others,” said Lavender.
“We hope that students will continue to use [the centre], year in and year out, and see our numbers and demand increase,” said Cochrane.
“We are very proud of what they have done,” said Wayne King, CFO and vice-president of administration and corporate services at SAIT.
“It is a great addition to SAIT.”
The Student Support Centre is open on weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is staffed by student supervisors who are prepared to listen and help find the right resources for anyone with a problem.
This place is for them, this is the students’ place. – Tegan Cochrane
SAITSA and SAIT also launched the Respect Campaign on Nov. 20, in order to “raise awareness and reinforce that help is available to those who experience discrimination or harassment,” said in the press release.