A holistic change for students coming in 2022

By: Imogen Hyndman

Mental health posters cover a bulletin board at the Red River College Exchange District Campus on Jan. 23, 2018./SAM CORTES

Red River College Polytechnic is adding more mental health and wellness resources for all students in 2022.

RRC Polytech announced a new Campus Well-Being unit last month, along with the cancellation of the College’s varsity athletics programs. Just over 100 students played on the Rebels sports team each year, but the College is anticipating the new unit will reach more. 

“If I were still in school, I’d definitely take a look at what the unit has to offer,” said Kiersten Haight, a 22-year-old CreComm alumnus.

“An ideal situation would’ve been for both to coexist, but I support any initiative towards bettering students’ and mental health.”

The Campus Well-Being unit focuses on finding a balance between mental and physical health services, according to the RRC Polytech website. Workshops like SafeTALK, a suicide prevention program, and various fitness options like intramurals, activity challenges, and e-sports tournaments will be available.

The unit will also offer meditation and relaxation activities, with fitness consultations and classes on campus and online.

“It’s encouraging to see that mental health is being considered a priority,” said Hailey Kostusik, 26, a graphic design graduate. “Looking back, I wish I would’ve prioritized the balance [mental and physical health] more.”

Breanna Sawatzky is the acting manager for the unit and said she is working on the Healthy Minds Healthy College strategy of connectedness, positive mental health, and belonging for career success. She is also part of RRC Polytech’s Five Year Roadmap to Action to become a health-promoting institution.

“We’re excited to offer more arts-based resources and programming to support student well-being,” said Sawatzky. “We know that the self-expression and creativity that comes with arts can act as a powerful means of self-care.”

Although the unit isn’t in full operation yet, students have participated in virtual cooking and music workshops, and there’s a monthly paint night available through the Students’ Association.

“Personally, I’d rather study than do a paint night,” said Paterson. “I’m sure some people would absolutely love the unit. I just don’t know why they had to take away the sport-side of things.”

Over the next few months, RRC Polytech will add more programs and services to the unit.

“I guess it’s with the times,” said Ashley Paterson, a soccer player and Early Childhood Education graduate. “Everyone is trying to get fit and be more mindful right now.”

To learn more about upcoming events and ways to provide input on the unit, students can check their weekly Student News email or visit the RRC Polytech website.