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The Qualico Bridge to Success (QBTS) Program supports Indigenous students in their transition into post-secondary education.

Qualico Bridge to Success Program supports first-year Indigenous student success

January 21, 2019 — 

Every year, the University of Manitoba welcomes approximately 500 new Indigenous (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) students to its campuses.

Thanks to a donation from real estate development company Qualico, the Indigenous Student Centre has developed the Qualico Bridge to Success (QBTS) Program to better support Indigenous students in their transition into post-secondary education.

QBTS nurtures the spiritual, physical, mental and emotional strengths of Indigenous students so they can be as successful as possible in their first year of study. Benefits include pre-orientation programming, academic learning support, advising and special events.

“QBTS enhances the first-year experience and allows us to provide a cost-free program with numerous benefits,” says program coordinator Carla Loewen.

“My overall experience with the Qualico Bridge to Success Program was excellent. It really gave me a greater sense of confidence going into university,” says first-year Métis student Colin Wiebe. “The [program] opened my eyes to all of the resources and aid that both the Indigenous Student Centre and the university offer.”

One of the most popular components of QBTS is the Neechiwaken Indigenous Peer Mentor Program, where new and experienced students are paired together to engage in a reciprocal process of sharing knowledge, skills and expertise. In this peer-mentor relationship, new students are supported through their transition into university life and experienced students are able to build on their leadership skills.

“Every day I see the positive connections and friendships being made because of the program,” says Loewen.

Program participants are also eligible to enrol in a QBTS lab section of ARTS 1110: Introduction to University, a course focused on developing new students’ writing, research and critical-thinking skills. Enrolling in the QBTS lab section gives Indigenous students the opportunity to meet their peers and practice what they are learning in class in an intimate, supportive setting.

“I also can’t praise the ARTS 1110 program enough. The lessons involving writing and the thought processes to being a successful student greatly aided me,” says Wiebe. “I would highly recommend this program to others.”

The donation from Qualico supports Front and Centre, the Campaign for the University of Manitoba. This $500-million campaign has five priorities, including Indigenous Achievement – to make Manitoba a centre of excellence for Indigenous education and research, and Outstanding Student Experience – to give all our students exceptional experiences and support. QBTS is one example of the many programs the University of Manitoba administers to meet these goals.

Registration for QBTS will be available on the Indigenous Student Centre’s website beginning April 1. Interested QBTS applicants are welcome to contact the Indigenous Student Centre at any stage of the admission process. Students will also be notified about this program once they have applied to the University of Manitoba.

Visit the Qualico Bridge to Success Program website for more information.

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