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A supportive community for returning Indigenous students

Blankstein Momentum Program applications are open

June 5, 2024 — 

When mature student Scott Rear first heard about the Blankstein Momentum Program from an Indigenous student recruitment officer, he was intrigued.

“The program sounded helpful and as this was my second time applying to the University of Manitoba through the mature student route, I really needed to succeed,” he says.

And that’s exactly why the Blankstein Momentum Program (Momentum) exists. Offered by the Indigenous Student Centre, it connects Indigenous students like Rear with UM resources that will support them through their academic journeys. Whether a returning student needs help getting back on track, elevating their GPA or connecting with the Indigenous community, Momentum provides Indigenous students with the tools they need to succeed.

Through the free program, students can access holistic programming like biweekly workshops, advisor meetings, access to tutors, group activities and cultural/spiritual care. It also helps familiarize Indigenous students with available UM resources, policies and supports in a safe, culturally inclusive environment.

A student in a bolo tie smiles at the camera, pictured from shoulders up.

Scott Rear.

“It pointed me in the right direction to access various supports, even during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Rear, who is now pursuing an advanced bachelor of arts in Indigenous governance, majoring in Indigenous studies and minoring in business.

Coming out of virtual classes, Rear says a sense of community was more important than ever. He cites the connections he made with the Indigenous campus community as one of the program’s biggest benefits.

“Momentum gave me the opportunity to connect with other Indigenous students, something that had not existed the first time I attempted university in the 2000s,” he says. “It was very helpful to connect every other week and feel like you’re not doing it alone—you’re part of a community of people trying to achieve the same goal.”

The program uses a checklist to help students stay on track, and those who complete its requirements are entered into tuition prize draws at the end of the year.

“For a first-generation university student like me, this program was extremely helpful in bettering my understanding of university. It played a major role in my success, and the staff were all incredibly friendly, helpful and supportive,” says Rear, who is Red River Métis and a citizen of the Manitoba Métis Federation, with family lines including Dauphinais and Lavallée from St. François Xavier, the White Horse Plains and St. Boniface. He is also the elected secretary of the MMF Bison Local.

“I would highly recommend this program—and have recommended this program—to other Indigenous students.”

Momentum runs from late August to the beginning of April. Applications are now open. Learn more and apply on the UM website.

The Blankstein Momentum Program is generously supported by University of Manitoba alumna Dr. Marjorie B. Blankstein [C.M., O.M., B.A. (Man.), M.S.W. (Minnesota), LL.D. (Man.)].

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