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Life on campus — with Geneviève Alloi

The Birks student support representative talks about the importance of open communication and having others to count on
May 25, 2021
By Daniel Bartlett

Woman wearing a procedure mask who is sitting at a desk with a computer and papers in front of her. Geneviève Alloi: “Planning things out a little more helps my comfort when I am on campus.”

Life on campus is a series profiling inspiring faculty and staff who have been working on the Sir George Williams and Loyola campuses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. To nominate someone you know, send an email to

Before Geneviève Alloi returned to work on campus part-time in August 2020, she attended a meeting with her colleagues from the Birks Student Service Centre, where she was able to voice her concerns and needs.

Top of mind for the student support representative was how she was going to travel to campus. She also wanted to know the university’s plans to ensure her work environment was safe upon her return.

“I was worried about seeing students in person and the traffic they would bring into our office, as well as how we would manage helping them while also keeping them safe,” Alloi recalls.

The session proved a success with the whole Birks team participating in a brainstorming session to find new ways to operate in a safe manner. Alloi also brought up her fears of using public transit and opted for a different mode of transportation that gives her less anxiety and more freedom to travel outside of peak hours.

“Our concerns were addressed. We made plans and came up with ideas to adjust to our new work reality so that it’s functional for us and for students,” she says.

Planning ahead for success

Depending on her schedule, Alloi works at Concordia one day per week or once every two weeks. The Birks physical location has been operating on a by-appointment basis since August, with staff resolving many issues for students remotely.

“Appointments are only for very specific reasons and we verify them ahead of time,” Alloi explains.

“Having appointments helps us control the number of students who visit our centre at a specific time so there aren’t too many at once. We can also plan how students enter and exit the office, as well as take time to clean surfaces between appointments.”

Planning, she points out, is key to working successfully on campus during the pandemic. Prior to the start of her day, Alloi gives herself enough time to take an earlier train and avoid larger crowds. She also thinks of everything she’ll need while at the university, from masks and hand cream to pens and stamps.

“Planning things out a little more helps my comfort when I am on campus,” she says. “And I make sure to get some time outdoors too.”

Staying grounded in a pandemic

More than anything, Alloi notes that working on a team that values open communication and support is a must for enjoying a healthy on-campus environment during these uncertain times.

“I am blessed to be working with such a great team. I cannot imagine what the past year would have been like without them,” she says.

Other practices Alloi’s developed over the last 14 months include taking moments to disconnect and clear her head, as well as leaning on friends, family, co-workers and other external support systems to stay grounded when things seem unpredictable.

She also has advice for faculty and staff who may be having trouble with the prospect of going back to work on campus.

“Take the time to write down all your concerns, plan things for your day and talk to your team about your apprehensions and ideas,” Alloi says. “Together, you may be able to find solutions that make getting back to campus more comfortable.”

Visit Concordia’s
COVID-19 information page to keep informed of latest developments.

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