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Renewed support helps hundreds of new Indigenous students bridge the gap to post-secondary learning

November 10, 2022 — 

Academic success will be easier to reach for the next generation with a new $1 million commitment from Qualico. This renewed support will ensure the Qualico Bridge to Success program continues to strengthen the first-year experience for Indigenous students as they transition to post-secondary life.

The program offers a variety of student supports, such as pre-orientation activities, academic learning support, advising and special events to enhance student’s first-year at the University of Manitoba. Since the program’s launch during the 2016/2017 academic year, 328 Indigenous students have been supported through this program.

“The program has grown every year since 2016, with an average of 55 students participating each year,” explained Carla Loewen, Director, Indigenous Student Centre. “With Qualico’s commitment of funding for the next five years, we are looking forward to implementing new programs and activities for students.”

“We want to create a structured cultural component to the program. Oftentimes, this would be a student’s first ceremony or first time engaging with an Elder and it would be a great opportunity for new students to learn more about Indigenous cultures,” said Bailey Hendry, Student Advisor, Indigenous Student Centre. “We also want to implement some more family-oriented programming because some of the students have their own children, or they have other folks in their family that they want to bring to the workshops and meetings.”

Carla Loewen echoed these sentiments as it’s something important for the continued growth of the program.

“It’s really important to enhance the cultural piece because we know that students are coming here unsure about their identity or they’re used to having tradition in their lives, so we want to incorporate that programming piece and make it more intentional, because we do focus a lot on the academic components,” said Loewen. “When it comes to the work that we do at the Indigenous Student Centre, we have a holistic approach that concentrates on the spiritual, mental, physical and emotional pieces as well. We are trying to encompass the students with everything that they might want and maybe don’t even know about.”

Qualico’s initial gift plus its renewal has brought the investment in supporting Indigenous education and students in Manitoba to a total of $2 million.

“The University of Manitoba and the Indigenous Student Centre are so grateful for this opportunity that has been provided to us by Qualico. It really has made an impact to over 300 students and the staff as well, as we get to see the students enjoy coming to campus and starting or completing or their studies,” Loewen expressed.

To learn more about the Qualico Bridge to Success program read, Qualico Commits to Five-Year Renewal of Qualico’s Bridge to Success Program at University of Manitoba.

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