Student Life, an organization developed August, 2011, is designed to benefit current U of M students and has been working with the Graduate Student Association for further improvements. Their current programs are designed to help students “learn by doing,” offering students opportunities to get involved in community work either locally or globally in places like El Salvador, Ecuador, and Bangladesh. Student Life promotes healthy lifestyles through sports, literacy, and learning about sustainable rural development.
Director of Student Life Brendan Hughes stated the organization has worked on obtaining the co-curricular record certificate. Students who participate in these programs are eligible to receive a co-curricular record, independent of their transcript, which shows their extracurricular effort in core areas like awards, governance, leadership, service, and volunteer work.
In November they were able to establish a visit from Spencer West, who also attended We Day as a motivational speaker. His feat was climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with no legs and he left the crowd of youngsters hopeful for social change. West’s message is that if he can climb one of the tallest mountains, a feat considered impossible given his physical condition, then tackling the seemingly impossible mountain of social change can also be achieved.
Student Life has also been working on a campaign called the respect campaign, which aims to make the University of Manitoba a respected working and learning environment. In 2012 the Graduate Student Association council approved a member of Student Life to attend their meetings in order to facilitate communication about opportunities and issues. For example, although it is not a project Student Life is involved with, Hughes made a point to say the University of Manitoba is the first University in Canada to offer an online research integrity course for both students and staff.
The organization also hopes to help the university become more welcoming of Graduate students, who Hughes encourages to help with the development of a mentorship program.
“Graduate students could help by either volunteering to act as mentors to new graduate students, or be willing to help us develop these improved programs,” Hughes told the Gradzette. Hughes claimed the importance of collaborating partnerships is to keep open communication, which will also benefit students in regards to opportunities and issues.
Opportunities with Student Life help better prepare students for graduate studies and work outside the academic setting. The co-curricular Record record certificate looks great on both future graduate study applications and job applications. Benefits are directly associated with graduate students since Student Life works with the Graduate Studies Association to further improve the programs available.
Hughes says it is recognized that graduate students work hard while studying and that students seek to be treated fairly by their faculty advisors.
“We can help bring awareness to this issue and be supportive of efforts to ensure an equitable working and learning environment,” said Hughes.
Hughes made it clear they are open to suggestions in favour of improvements that will further help graduate students.