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Two students with laptops sit on a couch in a student lounge. They are smiling at each other.

Building connections and supporting success

Qualico Bridge to Success program applications open May 8

May 8, 2024 — 

Connection and community are two words that often come to mind when students describe the Qualico Bridge to Success (QBTS) program.

“I applied because I figured it would be a good way for me to connect with the Indigenous community on campus,” says first-year Métis student Avangeline (Ava) Anderson. “I have met tons of people I probably would not have met without it, and it has given me support that I might not have reached out to otherwise.”

Thanks to a donation from real estate development company Qualico, the Indigenous Student Centre (ISC) is able to support student success through the program, which helps to facilitate the transition of new Indigenous students into post-secondary education at the University of Manitoba. It offers pre-orientation activities, academic learning support, advising, peer mentoring and special events that enhance their first-year experience.

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 build on their leadership skills.

“With the QBTS program, the whole goal is to facilitate the transition in a holistic way, one that touches on the spiritual, physical, mental and emotional strengths they already have,” says Bailey Hendry, program coordinator and student advisor with ISC. “Maybe they [get the most out of the program] by connecting with others through orientation, coming to see me as an advisor or joining Neechiwaken—it’s up to the student in terms of what empowers them.”

A student in a white t-shirt and jeans stands with her dog. She is smiling.

Avangeline Anderson.

The QBTS program also helps build a sense of belonging on campus. “QBTS provided a very welcoming and positive environment full of friendly faces,” says Anderson, who plans to enter the Faculty of Nursing.

“This is a really fun program, filled with amazing and friendly people who are there to help you if you ever experience troubles academically. I know which faculty I am planning on going into now, and I can thank this program and its advisors in helping me decide,” adds Xavier Kent, a QBTS participant from Sagkeeng First Nation. “I would most definitely recommend this program to all first-year Indigenous students.”

Applications to join the Qualico Bridge to Success and Neechiwaken Indigenous Peer Mentor programs open on May 8. Interested applicants are welcome to contact the Indigenous Student Centre at any stage of the admission process.

“I’ve seen a lot of students achieving their goals [with support from the program], which is awesome to see,” says Hendry. “Getting to know them and hearing about their successes has been so special.”

To learn more and for details on how to apply, visit the Qualico Bridge to Success webpage and Neechiwaken Indigenous Peer Mentor Program webpage.

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