R-Crew bridges the gap between students and faculty

By: Emma Honeybun

In Red River College Polytechnic’s Exchange District Campus atrium, Teddy Lands sits at her “office,” a metal table underneath one of the faux trees.

She’s a Creative Communications student and volunteers in numerous groups at the college, like the college’s Resource Crew or the R-Crew.

“I love that idea that I get to be a part of that because it’s something much greater than myself,” Lands said. “And I also get to be here for the students.”

The R-Crew is a small circle of Indigenous student volunteers, hired and organized by Indigenous Student Supports at the college, who are there to “bridge the gap” between faculty, students, and future applicants.

They visit open houses, fundraising events, college celebrations, and everything in between. At these events, they sit at booths, answer questions, and provide an honest student outlook.

Each member of the R-Crew works for a set number of hours toward a bursary. These bursaries are funded by the college’s annual budget.

There has been an increase of Indigenous students attending programs at the college recently, but people can still be scared to try even when they’d thrive, said Lands.

Future students can still show some hesitancy in applying and sometimes need a bit of student representation for reassurance, said Lands.

That’s where the R-Crew comes in.

Teddy Lands sits in her spot in the atrium on Feb. 16, 2023. Lands is part of the college’s Resource Crew, bridging the gap between faculty and other students. (Emma Honeybun)

“It’s good ’cause Indigenous students are also creating relationships outside of the Indigenous circle,” said Lands. “This is basically our second home.”

A support system made up of other students is important because it offers a more in-touch form of communication that faculty can’t offer, said navigation coach Terri-Lynn Anderson.

“We can create a better sense of community here at the college while they’re in their program. It’s just good to hear from their perspective,” she said.

RRC Polytech has been working closely with Indigenous Student Supports, directly funding the Indigenous student resources, bursaries and events, according to Anderson.

“They [the college] tend to be involved with the events that are happening. They will come down and engage with us,” Anderson said. “It’s wonderful.”

Additionally, she said that college VP Jamie Wilson recently shared with her that RRC Polytech has over 1,700 Indigenous students currently enrolled, something they’re hoping to improve with new programs and collaborative support.

But while the R-Crew does pose questions of how Indigenous students can be better represented at the college, it’s not they’re not a student council, said Lands.

Students who are interested in learning more about the R-Crew or applying can contact Anderson or visit RRC Polytech’s website.