Oct. 7, 2020

Annual UCalgary wellness event expands offerings in an online environment

Speed friend-making, physically distanced line-dancing, and a host of other UFlourish events aimed at connection and resiliency

Wellness initiative UFlourish has been supporting the mental health of our campus community, in various forms, for six years now. This year will, of course, be different. Instead of a week of lectures and workshops, events will take place (mostly) online over a month, so UCalgary students, faculty, staff, and postdoctoral scholars can attend events flexibly, when their busy schedules allow.

“This year challenges us in different ways for sure. But having a way our community can build resiliency and new community connections is really important,” says Michele Moon, team lead, WellBeing and WorkLife and UFlourish co-chair.

“A larger schedule of programming (40-plus free events) offers up more opportunities to engage. We focused on making programming more accessible through options such as watch-from-home, and asynchronous sessions, so students studying all over the world could participate. I’m really excited about this year’s events.”

Flagship events look at current and pervasive social challenges with a lens on well-being and mental health

Coping with the Emotional Impacts of Climate Change is a two-part event aimed at addressing feelings of eco-grief and eco-anxiety, highlighting the interconnections of sustainability and well-being. The first session will be a guided lecture and conversation, the second, optional part, will be a restorative guided-meditation session. Learn more about the Nov. 2 event and RSVP to attend.

Panel discussion and podcast How Does Cultural Identity Impact our Mental Health? A Discussion on Mental Health Through a Cultural Lens will examine the complex relationship between cultural identity and mental health. Hosted by International Student Services, the session will discuss the bicultural experience that many international students and second-generation Canadians face. Learn more about the Nov. 3 event and RSVP to attend.

Hosted by award-winning emotional literacy educator, Toronto-based Karen B.K. Chan, Calling In: Doing Social Justice Compassionately focuses on cultivating accountability skills that strengthen communities and relationships with dignity and compassion. Learn more about the Nov. 4 event and RSVP to attend.

Student and campus group-led events, asynchronous content puts unique stamp on program offerings

Connection during a historic time characterized by distance and isolation is an especially important aspect to address for UFlourish, as many students are learning from home, away from the campus. Virtual TED & Tea, hosted by Women’s Resource Centre, will discuss finding supportive people and a community online. Online Unwind: Speed Friend-Making, hosted by Leadership and Student Engagement, is exactly as it sounds — a chance for attendees to make new UCalgary friends. Coffee and Connection, hosted by Student Wellness Services, is a recurring weekly session where wellness topics are explored. One in-person event, Line Dancing, will allow on-campus staff and students a chance to do something fun while celebrating Calgary’s western roots at a distance. 

Podcasts and pre-recorded lectures were also an important consideration. With so many students studying from different parts of the world, asynchronous events were an important functionality organizers considered.

“We know that in our current reality many of our campus community are not here with us in person; some of us aren’t even here in Canada,” explains Garrett Beatty, international student adviser, Intercultural Programs. “By providing asynchronous events through UFlourish, we are able to say to all students, staff, and faculty that you are an important part of the UCalgary community no matter where you are in the world."

“UFlourish is a great way for our UCalgary community, new and returning, to learn about wellness resources on campus, expand their mental health toolbox, and connect with each other in new ways,” says Dr. Andrew Szeto, PhD, director of the Campus Mental Health Strategy. “The themes of self-care, supporting others, and connecting with our communities is so important now given the current context we live in today.”

UFlourish starts next week. A month-long well-being initiative, events are for UCalgary students, faculty, staff, and postdocs to build positive mental health, resiliency and community connection through a series of workshops, seminars, and events. Find more information and event registration.

UFlourish is hosted by Student Wellness Services and Staff Wellness with the support of the Campus Mental Health Strategy. The University of Calgary’s Campus Mental Health Strategy is a bold commitment to the importance of mental health and well-being of our university family. Our vision is to be a community where we care for each other, learn and talk about mental health and well-being, receive support as needed, and individually and collectively realize our full potential. Find support and connect to the strategy.