How the FSU plans to prioritize mental health

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: FANSHAWE STUDENT UNION
Resources found on the FSU webpage for mental health support.

The Fanshawe Student Union (FSU) promises to implement activities with greater emphasis on mental health, diversity, and student leadership in the upcoming 2021/2022 academic year.

FSU Student Life Coordinator, Ismail Aravai is responsible for organizing social events and enriching the student involvement at Fanshawe. Through collaboration and engagements with students, he guarantees to deliver events based on their needs.

“We have already been planning many events for the coming months, keeping the uncertainty in mind, currently all our events are virtual in respect to the government guidelines,” said Aravai.

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The FSU encompasses a wide range of student involvement from volunteer positions to social media contests. The union acts as a place for students to seek entertainment, help, opportunities and much more outside of the classroom. The college understands the well-being of students varies from individual to individual and may be based on factors such as gender, age, ethnicity, athletics, being a newcomer to Canada, and much more. From the participation and feedback from students, the union will help to implement systems to better accommodate the requests of undergraduates.

With the provincial government’s decision to help protect Ontarians from the COVID-19 virus, the educational institutions have been in constant reopening phases and lockdowns. Today, with the arrival of vaccines and the ongoing testing for their efficacy, the college cautiously executes their decisions regarding in-person events. In-person activities significantly influence individuals, especially those entering their first year while also being new to Canada.

In addition, the FSU is keen on promoting diversity and inclusion amongst the student body. They organize their activities to allow for equal participation from everyone.

“Keeping all international and new students’ situations and time zone differences in mind, we have been conducting all the events virtually and on a comfortable time when everyone can participate,” said Aravai.

Students are encouraged to articulate their troubles, through college services like guidance counselors, counselling services, crisis supports, accessibility services, peer support services, personal counselling, addictions, and harm reduction services, and more. Any issues the college is unable to assist with, professionals within Fanshawe will help direct individuals to the appropriate facility within the community. Furthermore, the FSU webpage has linked multiple resources including CMHA after-hours support, on-campus resources, community resources, events, and videos.

“This year, the FSU team plans on focusing more on spreading awareness through conducting more events and activities focused on mental wellbeing as well as physical wellbeing,” said Aravai. “Mental health will be our key focus as we understand how the pandemic has affected us. But we can’t overlook our students, who have also developed resilience and have adapted to the change.”

Fanshawe is not strictly committed to providing students with workplace skills, but also, an enjoyable student experience. The college, along with the FSU, deeply encourages everyone to participate and communicate their interests and concerns. The student union was designed to address student matters with other students for a more easygoing experience. They even extend their engagement with students through multiple social media platforms.

Lastly, Aravai’s personal goal for the upcoming academic year is to provide students with events that are more exciting and engaging than before. He hopes to encourage as much participation as possible from Fanshawe students.