New Instagram page creates community for remote learners

By Nicole Brownlee

Elder Paul Guimond will be featured on Red River College’s Indigenous Instagram page to share his wisdom and offer his support to students./REDRIVERCOLLEGE

Students learning from home will have an easier way to connect with Red River College’s Indigenous cultural centre staff through RRC’s revamped Indigenous Instagram page.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic we lost one of our main communications tools which was in-person communications like our Indigenous student support centres,” said Indigenous education communications officer, Sarah Panas.

The support centres at both the Notre Dame and Exchange District campuses hosted events, offered program advice and fostered community for Indigenous students. Most of the services offered in person can now be accessed online such as navigation coaches, academic coaching and tutoring, financial aid, student counselling and elders-in-residence.

Panas said she hopes the Instagram page, @rrcindigenous, will remind students they can connect with the community and services while learning remotely. 

Elder’s teachings and messages previously shared through Red River College’s main Instagram page will now also be shown on @rrcindigenous. 

“In difficult times we can turn to our elders for that wisdom and support and that reassurance,” said Panas.

“Usually, our elders are at the college so you can just drop in and talk to them. This is a way for our elders to reach out to our college community.”

Marshall Richard is a navigation coach featured on @rrcindigenous who helps guide students through advice about courses, programs and community services at RRC./REDRIVERCOLLEGE

Elders Jules Lavallee and Paul Guimond have been posting messages through RRC’s social media throughout the COVID-19 pandemic encouraging students to stay safe, healthy and to reach out whenever they need support.

“Especially with what’s been going on for the past year… anything we can do to reach one more student or a hundred more students is another tool in the toolbox,” said Stephanie Wright, RRC’s Indigenous culture coordinator.

“I really encourage students and potential students to [follow the page] and then it’s a great way to find information that pertains to them.” 

Panas added that students’ stories, elder teachings, and guest speakers will be added to the page in the future.

“I’m really excited about it,” said Wright.