Blue 2013 Campaign

Blue 2013 Campaign
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By Naomi Grosman

Blue 2013 Campaign

The College Student Alliance (CSA) has launched a social media campaign called Blue 2013 to raise awareness on mental health issues and to help students cope with the stresses of school and life, with the help of their colleges.

The campaign is meant to encourage students to get help with any struggles they’re having with school and get them familiarized with the help that is available on campus and through their student government.

The President of the CSA, Ciara Byrne, was the initiator of the campaign. The idea was first brought up in the alliance’s meeting in August and was finally ready to launch this month.
“This was Ciara Byrne’s brain child. She really wanted to do this campaign so it was great to be able to see it through.”

Veronica Barahona, communications manager at the CSA, said. “It´s an idea from a student that is helping other students.”

The campaign will run every January and October moving forward. The CSA is relying on student association’s help to get students their students involved.

January was chosen to be the first month of the campaign because it has been proven to be one of the hardest months of the year. School is starting up again after the holidays and student are juggling a lot of responsibilities.

The main struggles the CSA is facing now is that a lot of people don’t know about the campaign and it is a bit of a challenge to get the word out there. “Going forward, we are confident that there will be a better response rate.” Barahona said.

Sharing your story might encourage others to get help and raise awareness that there is help where you might otherwise not look, at your school.

Share your story with the CSA via twitter #blue2013 and check out their video

Centre for Students with Disabilities

In the fairly small offices of The Centre for Students with Disabilities (CSD) at the Centre for Creative Communications campus, Lorene Stanwick, disabilities counsellor and her colleagues make a big difference in the lives of students at Centennial College.

Centennial College has a CSD on every campus and there is qualified staff on hand to help students with disabilities reach their full potential at school. All disabilities counsellors and learning strategists have a minimum of a master’s degree in counseling. The centre focuses on long term solutions for each individual that registers.

“About half of our students have learning disabilities and about half are a mix of students with medical or mental health issues, mobility issues and more.” Stanwick said. They also help students who are hard of hearing or visually impaired.
The number of students who have a disability and need assistance with their studies make up about 12-15% of the whole student population. Last year they had over 1900 students registered on all the campuses.

“There are a lot more students with disabilities at the school because not everyone registers.” Stanwick said. “It’s hard to know how many people aren’t registered, because they’re not here but I know for sure that there are.”

There are different reasons for students not registering. Some don’t want to be stigmatized due to their disability or simply want to try and do it on their own. Others don’t know about the centre and therefore are not aware that there is proper support in place to help them.

Stanwick has had instructors voice concerns over students who might have problems with their studies due to a disability. These students usually need a little encouragement to get help and contact the centre.

“A lot of guidance or special education offices at high schools will be strong advocates of college disability centres by letting students know that when you get to college you have to seek out the help. You have to do it on your own.” Stanwick said.

The help that students get at the CSD depends on what kind of disability they have. Students have to register in order to get the help that they need. The registration process entails assessing documents that state what kind of disability they have and then it’s decided, in cooperation with the student, what can be done to help them with their studies. The solutions range from longer exam times to assistive technologies that students can access at the centre e.g. computer programs that will read to students who have reading disabilities.

“Some students only need us for help to write their exams but many of them do need more.” Stanwick said. “Some people who come from high school might know that they have something, but might not know that they have a disability.”

While the CSD does not do diagnoses students can be referred to places that can and then return to the centre to be registered.

“Our motto is get connected, stay connected.” Stanwick said. “They can come in again and get counseling with one of our disabilities counsellors or get learning strategies training.”

The CSD connects with students in a variety of ways. Through student fairs, the school’s website and through high schools. However, it is important that students contact the centre themselves. There is help in place and knowing about it and getting help is winning half the battle.

Where to find Centre for Student with Disabilities (CSD)

Ashtonbee Campus
First floor, room A111
(Next to security office)
416 – 289 – 5000 ext: 7202

Centre for Creative Communications
Room 284
(Near the ramp)
416 – 289 – 5000 ext: 8664

Morningside Campus
First floor, Room 190
(Just left of the bookstore)
416 – 289 – 5000 ext: 8025

Progress Campus
First floor, room C1 – 03
(Just left of Tim Hortons)
416 – 289 – 5000 ext: 2627

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