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‘Standing Together’ with your fellow Concordians

MARCH 13-17: Find support and solidarity at these campus events
March 9, 2017
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By Jesse Coady

The Standing Together series was conceived with a holistic definition of health in mind. The Standing Together series was conceived with a holistic definition of health in mind.


When a threat directed at Muslim students forced the evacuation of three Concordia buildings last week, Campus Wellness and Support Services (CWSS) responded quickly to set up support for community members.

But given the gravity of the incident, CWSS director Gaya Arasaratnam knew that something more than a traditional mental health approach was required.

“In my experience, when people are faced with a traumatizing event like this, we need to ensure that our responses are both robust and varied,” she says.

“Sometimes, people want to turn to mental health professionals. At other times, they want to turn to their peers and communities to make sense of what happened. Both avenues are important and needed.”

To meet both needs, Counselling and Psychological Services and Health Services immediately opened opportunities for crisis care, and Arasaratnam reached out to her colleagues in the Department of Theological Studies, the Multi-Faith and Spirituality Centre, the Department of Creative Arts Therapies, the International Students Office and Jack.org Concordia.

Together they brainstormed how to facilitate discussion and develop creative mediums for coming to terms with the harm caused by the March 1 bomb threat.

The result is the Standing Together series, which offers occasions for the community to join together and stand in opposition to intolerance and violence. It’s scheduled to run from March 13 to 17 at Concordia.

The program includes purposeful group discussions, mindfulness exercises and banner writing in solidarity with Muslim students, as well as a free-form community art project and a drop-in “Conversations Couch.”

Events are designed to allow students, staff and faculty to express themselves easily and freely.

Lisa Ostiguy, deputy provost, applauds the initiative. “At this time, it is important for members of the Concordia community to reach out and support each other,” she says.

“This series is an important step in the process of facilitating dialogue across the university.”


‘A friend’s shoulder to lean on’

The schedule was conceived with a holistic definition of health in mind — one linked to social as well as mental and physical well-being.

For Arasaratnam, this means developing a community response to complement the clinical one.

“I wanted to create as many opportunities as is needed for the community to meet and support each other,” Arasaratnam says. 

“Sometimes a clinical approach is needed; sometimes all you need is a friend’s shoulder to lean on, and at other times a strong creative community response sends the message that we are all in this together,” she adds.

“It is my hope that the series will provide different opportunities for these types of conversations, by providing creative outlets to express oneself and connect with each other.”

During the Cultivating Hope Group, for example, Creative Arts Therapies, the Multi-Faith and Spirituality Centre and Counselling and Psychological Services will use guided conversation, movement, music and meditation experiences to create healing and community.  

Meanwhile, the Standing in Solidarity event will provide participants with a chance to express their support for those affected and reject hate and intolerance in all its forms.

Here is the complete list of events in the Standing Together series, taking place on Concordia’s Sir George Williams Campus from March 13 to 17.


ArtHive

Let the materials guide you while creating art in a welcoming space. Join Creative Art Therapy students to engage in a collaborative piece or work independently.

The event is co-hosted by Creative Art Therapies and the Art Hive Network.

It's open to students, staff and faculty.

Date: Monday, March 13
Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Room: EV Atrium,  Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex (1515 Ste-Catherine St. W.)


Standing in Solidarity

Concordians are invited to stop by and sign a banner with the words, "We Stand Together."

Date:  Monday, March 13 and Wednesday, March 15
Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Room: EV Atrium, Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex (1515 Ste-Catherine St. W.)

Date: Friday, March 17
Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Room: LB Atrium, J.W. McConnell Building (1400 De Maisonneuve W.)


Conversations Couch

A big stuffed sofa, equipped with conversation cue cards, is the perfect place for you and your friends to talk.

The event is hosted by the Multi-faith and Spirituality Centre.

It's open to students, staff and faculty.

Date: Monday, March 13 and Wednesday, March 15
Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Room: EV Atrium, Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex (1515 Ste-Catherine St. W.)

Date: Friday, March 17
Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Room: LB Atrium, J.W. McConnell Building (1400 De Maisonneuve W.)


Mindful Labyrinth

Walking can be calming when you give yourself permission to leave your cares aside, and focus on where your feet are taking you. Take a journey through a mindful labyrinth.  

The event is hosted by Theological Studies.

It's open to students, staff and faculty.

Date: Wednesday, March 15
Time: 1 to 5 p.m.
Room: EV Atrium, Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex (1515 Ste-Catherine St. W.)


Cultivating Hope Group

Hope enables you to listen, act, and live fully, in defiance of hateful narratives that could make you feel helpless. Learn to make your own hope sustainable by exchanging and growing it both as an individual and in your community.

The event is co-hosted by Creative Art Therapies, Counselling and Psychological Services, and Multi-Faith and Spirituality Centre.

It's open to students.

Date: Friday, March 17
Time: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Room: GM-200, Guy-De Maisonneuve Building (1550 De Maisonneuve W.)


Find out more about Concordia’s Campus Wellness and Support Services.

 



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