On February 22-25 2021, HM|HC campus stakeholders and community partners attended the 2021 Summit, We Belong to Each Other: Cultivating Campus Communities for Mutual Well-Being. This Summit was an opportunity for our community of practice to come together once again for our collective pursuit of mental well-being and healthy relationships with substances in post-secondary institutions in British Columbia.
We were mindful of Zoom fatigue so imagine the classic Healthy Minds | Healthy Campuses Summit but reconstructed. The 2021 Summit took place virtually for a week of events with interactive sessions, thoughtful keynotes, invigorating panels and reflective breakouts. There were also opportunities for co-learning and collaboration with the hope to build collective momentum to strengthen our campus communities.
Who are our campus communities comprised of?
What are the implications and benefits of mutual well-being?
The 2021 Summit strove to take a deeper look into the above questions as we learn how to come together to build and strengthen our campus communities. From international students to part-time and mature students, from health promotion teams to administrative staff, from disability services to financial services, we all belong to our campuses, and we all can contribute to creating a sense of belonging within our communities.
Since COVID-19 had dispersed us from our physical campuses, we talked about what it meant to care for one another and be responsible to each other as we go about our day-to-day lives – even if it means from one Zoom meeting to another.
How have campus stakeholders – staff, faculty, administration and students – forged partnerships within their post-secondary institution and with outside organizations to strengthen the impact of efforts to enhance well-being? Campus life continues to evolve in light of continued changes due to COVID-19 and over the past few months, we have heard of the rapid virtualization of campus initiatives. Now we wanted to come together to learn from each other and further our efforts to promote collective well-being.
The 2021 Summit touched upon three streams that cultivate conversations for mutual well-being in our current reality:
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion on Campus
This stream reflects the richness that fills our campuses. The diversity in cultures, the variety in thought and uniqueness of each campus member. As we learn how COVID-19 has magnified the discrimination and racism faced by our campus members and discover the various barriers encountered by our friends and colleagues, we cannot be collectively well until everyone is well. Before we can dismantle barriers, we must listen to and learn from our community members most affected. In this stream we seek to amplify the voices of community members affected the most and search for solutions that align with EDI principles.
Communities without Borders
Empty campuses do not mean empty communities. As our reality continues to be largely virtual and physically distant, campuses are still fostering social connection and creating a sense of belonging and opportunities for engagement under these circumstances. As campus communities are no longer confined to the physical spaces of campuses, this stream highlights those initiatives and welcomes conversation on the strengths and challenges of building virtual communities.
Response to COVID-19
As we approached the one year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, we wished like to reflect on the response to COVID-19 and how we have adapted thus far to our new normal. While we have all had to face different realities and experiences, one thing is clear: the pandemic has posed enormous challenges. In light of these challenges, what lessons learned can be of benefit to us moving forward? In this stream we wanted to highlight efforts in fostering resiliency and creating conditions for well-being for campus members in view of COVID-19.