York community members invited to share feedback on draft Well-being Strategy

Compass with needle pointing the word well-being. 3D illustration with blur effect. Concept of wellbeing or wellness

La version française suit la version anglaise. 

Dear York community,

Following consultation beginning in late 2022 with students, staff, faculty and instructors to determine well-being priorities, York’s draft Well-being Strategy is now available for community members to review and provide their feedback. Your input is needed to ensure that the final strategy reflects the current needs of our community.

This draft Well-being Strategy aligns with the University Academic Plan’s priority of Living Well Together and reflects York’s commitment to fostering well-being across all of our campuses. It is the culmination of work based on insight provided by York community members who shared that “a stronger sense of connection, inclusion and well-being” is among the key changes they are seeking in their experiences at the University.  

Ways to provide feedback

We encourage students, staff, faculty and instructors to review the draft Well-being Strategy and provide feedback in one of two ways:

  1. Attend one of the engagement sessions between Oct. 13 and Nov. 30.
  2. Complete the online feedback form by Dec. 15.

Feedback collected will be used to finalize the strategy and prepare for its launch in 2024. Please note that all information provided will remain confidential and will not be linked to any individual community member.

York strives to create a healthier campus community for everyone and to build an environment where members can flourish and be well. Together, we can help shape the future of well-being at York.

Learn more about the strategy and how to get involved by visiting the Well-being at York website.

Thank You, Migwech Merci

Alice Pitt
Interim Vice-President Equity, People and Culture

Nona Robinson
Vice Provost Students

Les membres de la communauté de York sont invités à donner leur avis sur la version préliminaire de la Stratégie de bien-être

Chers membres de la communauté de York,

À la suite de la consultation entamée à la fin 2022 avec la population étudiante, le personnel, et les corps professoral et enseignant pour déterminer les priorités en matière de bien-être, la version préliminaire de la Stratégie de bien-être de York est maintenant à la disposition des membres de la communauté pour qu’ils l’examinent et fournissent une rétroaction. Nous sollicitons votre opinion pour nous assurer que la stratégie finale reflète les besoins actuels de notre communauté.

Cette version préliminaire de la Stratégie de bien-être s’aligne sur la priorité Bien vivre ensemble du Plan académique de l’Université et reflète la volonté de York de favoriser le bien-être sur l’ensemble de ses campus. C’est l’aboutissement d’un travail basé sur les observations des membres de la communauté de York qui nous ont fait savoir qu’un « sentiment plus fort de connexion, d’inclusion et de bien-être » fait partie des changements clés qu’ils recherchent dans leur expérience à l’Université.  

Façons de fournir une rétroaction :

Nous encourageons les membres de la population étudiante, du personnel, et des corps professoral et enseignant à prendre connaissance de la version préliminaire de la Stratégie de bien-être et à nous faire part de leurs commentaires de l’une des façons suivantes :

  1. Participez à l’une des séances d’engagement qui auront lieu du 13 octobre au 30 novembre 2023.
  2. Remplissez le formulaire de rétroaction en ligne avant le 15 décembre 2023.

Les commentaires recueillis serviront à finaliser la stratégie et à préparer son lancement en 2024. Veuillez noter que tous les renseignements fournis demeureront confidentiels et que les résultats ne seront pas liés à un membre individuel de la communauté.

York s’efforce de créer une communauté universitaire plus saine et un environnement dans lequel tous les membres peuvent s’épanouir et se sentir bien. Ensemble, nous pouvons façonner l’avenir du bien-être à York.

Pour en savoir plus sur la stratégie et sur les façons de vous impliquer, consultez le site Bien-être à York.

Merci, Migwech, Thank You.

Alice Pitt
Vice-présidente intérimaire de l’équité, des personnes et de la culture

Nona Robinson
Vice-rectrice aux affaires étudiantes

York’s Well-being Week to focus on mental, emotional health

Two hands holding each other for comfort

York University presents Fall Well-being Week, “Caring for Your Mental and Emotional Health,” taking place Oct. 2 to 6.

A series of free events was designed to help the York community reflect on and practice mental and emotional well-being.

Well-being Week offers a diverse range of workshops, sessions and webinars, with a mix of virtual and in-person activities. There will be opportunities to explore and reflect on personal well-being journeys, including speed painting, managing conflict, art-oriented self care and understanding the impact of food on mental health. Participants are invited to share their experience on social media by using the hashtag #YUWellbeing.

“The aim of these well-being focused events at York is to reduce stigma surrounding mental health, share valuable resources for personal and communal growth, provide opportunities for social connection and ensure everyone knows where to locate support resources,“ said Mary Catherine Masciangelo, assistant vice-president, human resources and chief human resources officer.

York’s Well-being Strategy

York is developing a comprehensive five-year Well-being Strategy as part of its ongoing efforts to systemically embed well-being across its campuses. This strategy, which is a collaborative effort between the Division of Students and the Division of Equity, People & Culture, acknowledges the institution’s mutual responsibility to follow a systemic approach to create an inclusive and supportive environment where all community members have opportunities to flourish and be heard.

“York University is committed to prioritizing well-being among all community members,” added Masciangelo. “This ongoing and intentional effort of dedication to the community is part of the University Academic Plan (UAP 2020-25) priority of Living Well Together. By mobilizing well-being resources, York University strives to provide an inclusive and supportive environment that promotes well-being in a way that is meaningful to its members.”

Over the coming months, all community members are encouraged to provide feedback on the draft Well-being Strategy document. Additional information on the strategy will follow.

To learn more about Fall Well-being Week, its events and to register for sessions, visit the Well-being Week website. For additional resources and support related to well-being and mental health, explore the Well-being website.

New website lists resources to address student food insecurity

Black man eating noodles while working at computer

Food insecurity is a persistent public health issue in Canada, and it is also evident at York University. The 2022 Canadian Campus Wellbeing Survey data identified food security as a challenge for York students.

To help address food insecurity within the York community, the Food Insecurity Roundtable, which consists of students, student groups, faculty and staff, launched a bilingual food resources website. The website provides users with a list of resources and information to help navigate food supports across York’s campuses.

Nona Robinson
Nona Robinson

“I’m delighted the roundtable came together quickly to provide students and the community with these resources and information, and to develop new ones,” says Nona Robinson, vice-provost students. “York and our student groups have many food resources available, although students sometimes don’t know how to find them. It was important for us to have the information readily available and in one centralized location for all members of the York community to access.”

Robinson adds that the construction of the website was a way to take immediate action while simultaneously working on longer-term strategies. “We are continuing to work with partners across the University to provide additional food supports, and I’m encouraged that so many people are coming together to help with these initiatives to support York students,” she says.

The website shares food initiatives like the York Federation of Students Food Support Centre, the Glendon Campus Food Bank, and the Student Counselling, Health & Well-being (SCHW) Open Fridge program, which provides free food to those on campus who need it. There are also links directing users to information on funding and financial aid, including emergency bursaries.

Tina Ranta, assistant director of well-being for SCHW, says talking about food security may be difficult for students, and the website serves as a valuable tool to help tackle this. Food insecurity can impact multiple areas of an individual’s well-being, she adds.

“It’s difficult for students to learn in class if they are hungry. Undernourishment and insufficient access to food can have a significant effect on your mental health and overall well-being,” Ranta says.

SCHW also offers programming to assist students in developing good eating habits. A link to SCHW’s web page, which includes information about Canada’s Food Guide, nutrition labelling, dietitian services and other resources, is also available on the website.

Other initiatives on campus, in addition to the website, have also been launched, including a $6.99 Value Meals program led by Food Services, and Yorklicious led by Student Community & Leadership Development. Yorklicious includes specially priced orientation meals at participating campus food vendors from Aug. 26 to Sept. 8. Jair Kallidumbil, manager of student life, says they are available to all students, faculty and staff.

“Yorklicious will contribute to the University’s efforts in combating food insecurity on campus and help bring awareness to some of the food options we have at York,” he says, adding that community members are encouraged to visit one of the many participating food vendors to enjoy a meal priced at $10 or less.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to use the feedback feature on the right-hand side of the web page to share details about other initiatives or food supports they think should be included. Community members are also welcome to join the Food Insecurity Roundtable by emailing vpstudents@yorku.ca for more information.

Students can create positive change at York through National Survey of Student Engagement

Black youth Osgoode lounge

First- and fourth-year students at York will have an opportunity to share their insights and drive positive change at the University through the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), which launches Feb. 27.

The survey takes place every three years across North America and is open to all undergraduate students in their first or graduating year of a four-year degree (except Bachelor of Education and Osgoode Hall Law School students).

Questions on the survey aim to measure how engaged students are in their post-secondary education in relation to experiences, programs, services and personal development.

It takes about 15 minutes to complete, and the results are used to inform strategic planning and evaluation of initiatives and work toward improving and enhancing supports for students. Those interested in participating will be asked to check for a personalized message in eClass from Nona Robinson, vice-provost, students, for the NSSE survey link.

“Student feedback is essential to planning good student supports, and we pledge to use the NSSE results to help us do so,” says Robinson. “By participating in NSSE, students actively support University planning and activities to help meet our commitment to creating a positive student experience on campus.”

York University first participated in 2014 with a 28 per cent response rate. Participation in the survey campaign measured 34 per cent in 2017 and 33 per cent in 2020. This year, the NSSE survey team at York is aiming for a 40 per cent participation rate. Faculty and staff can participate by acting as NSSE champions and encouraging students to participate.

To encourage participation, students who complete the survey will receive: a coupon added to their YU Card (redeemable for a Starbucks grande latte or a medium Tim Hortons coffee or a $5 gift card to participating York Lanes retailers or a $5 gift card to the York U Student Centre’s Breakroom); and an entry into a contest to win one of four tuition waivers valued at $500.

In addition to informing policy and highlighting areas for improvement at York, NSSE results also support institutional “quality” rankings, such as those published in MacLean’s magazine. NSSE publishes its own report each November, and also produces an institution-specific report with benchmark data from comparable institutions.

Results from this year’s survey will be shared with the York community in late 2023.

Celebrating the accomplishments of Work/Study Program students and coaches 

three students look at a computer

York University’s Work/Study Program joined forces with Career Education & Development in 2019 to offer a program designed to help Work/Study students recognize the value of their experiences. Through Becoming YU’s goal-setting and reflection framework, the program was designed to support students with greater clarity about their career goals while articulating their skills and accomplishments with confidence.  

Wrapping up the Fall/Winter 2021-22 academic year, more than 1,000 students participated in the program. 

Since its launch, Becoming YU has seen more than 2,500 students complete the program, allowing them to create meaningful goals and objectives, recognize the value of their personal, academic and professional experiences, identify their competencies and skills and articulate their skills and experiences with confidence.  

“This program has really progressed so far beyond my imagination. Students now have coaches. This is, to me the most exciting part of why I come to work… the opportunity to act as a coach or a mentor, to engage in these deeper conversations and to really impact individual students lives,” said Vice-Provost, Students Lucy Fromowitz.  

Recognizing the accomplishments of Work/Study students and Becoming YU coaches, the Work/Study program and Becoming YU team partnered to organize their first end-of-term celebration on March 30, bringing together students, coaches, Becoming YU alumni and employers.  

The celebration included an employer panel discussion, where recruiters from Longo’s and Enterprise Holdings spoke about the value of transferable skills during the hiring process and in the workplace.  

A second panel discussion was held with former York University Work/Study students who took part in the Becoming YU Program during their time as undergraduate students. Alumni were asked to speak on their experiences as Work/Study students and how it impacted their careers today.  

“I had some phenomenal coaches who sat with me and talked to regularly with me about my life goals, the skills that I thought I was really good at. I used those check-in moments as a mentorship session… I had a coach who understood all the components and intersections of my education, with my goals and my hobby of leadership development… they were able to give me the confidence that I needed at the time,” said Becoming YU alumni Althea Parala, student success coordinator at the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.  

The Becoming YU end-of-term celebration was complete with an acknowledgement of this year’s most notable Work/Study students and the Becoming YU Coach of the Year. Students were asked to nominate coaches they felt had the most impact on their experience in the Work/Study program, while coaches were asked to nominate students that left an impression on the department which they worked in.  

The Students of the Year award was presented to Raven Lovering and Julia Romano

“We’ve relied on Julia to add a student voice to many of our program and team decisions, and her insight has always reminded us to keep students and their needs at the centre of what we do. Julia has always demonstrated professionalism and maturity beyond her years,” said Becoming YU Coach and Associate Director, Experiential Education Melanie Belore. 

Becoming YU Coach and Learning Skills Specialist, Learning Skills & Retention Nicole Joron recognized, “[Raven] has done an excellent job of setting new Becoming YU goals each year that cover different skills. She engages in active reflection to measure her progress and identify new areas for growth… Raven actively pushes herself out of her comfort zone to learn new skills that will be valuable to her in both her work-study role and career beyond.”   

Honourable mentions were given to students Catherina Blair, Michelle Thomas, Gary Bold, and Mariyam Tanveer during the event.  

The Coach of the Year award was presented to Tina Ranta, assistant director, well-being.  

“Despite being a new member of the York community, Tina actively connects to various departments across York and seeks out opportunities for me to engage with other York departments. Because of Tina, I had the chance to work in areas of student leadership, a role in which I would have never entered on my own, where I was able to foster facilitation skills and connect with students from a wide range of disciplines,” said Jennifer Tran, a fourth-year Becoming YU Work/Study student.  

Learn more about the Work/Study Programs online.  

York asks for student input to create more inclusive community

An advertisement for the Student Equity & Diversity Census

After extensive consultation with students and the York community, York University has introduced its first Student Equity and Diversity Census.

The desire for a self-identification survey came from many sources, including York students, to help optimize their educational experience and address systemic barriers. The 11-question census, to be delivered on an annual basis, will support the provision of targeted services, resources and supports designed specifically for equity-seeking student populations, and support the University to address and eliminate barriers to access, retention and completion. It will also provide baseline data to measure the University’s goals as outlined in the York University Academic Plan 2020-25.

An advertisement for the Student Equity & Diversity Census
Students are invited to participate in York’s first Student Equity and Diversity Census

York University is currently seeking to expand its knowledge about the diversity of its students. A review of data from existing surveys led to a review to understand how the University can increase representation of the entire student population and address inconsistences and varying data and demographic definitions.

As a result, a Student Census Working Group was created with participation from units across the University, student groups and student government to develop a census that will generate highly representative, consistent and regularly refreshed diversity data. This data will be collected and statistics reported within a framework that respects the privacy of students.

The Student Equity and Diversity Census, which involves all students, including undergraduate and graduate, runs from Sept. 21 to Oct. 29. It has questions about gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity and Indigeneity, disability status, religion, place of birth and level of education of parents – all to help York University know more about its student population. This information will help the University support success and reduce barriers to access for under-represented groups.

Diversity, equity and inclusion are articulated in York’s mission statement and are reflected in the Univesity’s core values.

“The more we know about our students, the better we can address and eliminate barriers to access, retention and completion, and build a strong sense of community and belonging,” said Lucy Fromowitz, vice-provost, students. “We have many programs to support equity-seeking populations, but we want to do more. This data will better inform our policies, practices, programs and services from an access and inclusion perspective.”

Students are encouraged to complete the census, though participation is completely voluntary. Upon completion of the census, students can choose to enter into a sweepstake for a chance to win a suite of prizes, including an iPad Pro, gift cards for Amazon and Uber Eats, and flex dollars on their YU-card.

The data collected will be kept strictly confidential. Any published Student Equity and Diversity Census results will be summarized into broad categories with personal identifying information removed to protect privacy.

For more information, visit the Student Equity and Diversity Census website or contact vpstudents@yorku.ca.

Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities updated to reflect changing needs

Image shows a group of students standing in front of the Life Sciences Building located on the Keele Campus

The Office of Student Community Relations (OSCR) has updated the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities to better support and serve York University community members learning, working, and living on and off campus.

An important document, the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities is updated every five years to adapt to changing community needs and to align with prevailing University policies and guidelines. Changes are made after extensive consultation with students, staff and faculty to help ensure that the code affirms values of equity and respect.

The code is a set of identified values that the York University community is expected to uphold in their daily interactions, behaviours and overall conduct. The code upholds a philosophy and practice that is intended to balance a set of principles: support, accountability and education. The code also educates the community about non-academic behavioural standards at York and promotes accountability, ensuring that the York community upholds the dignity of individuals and groups and the enjoyment of their rights.

The recent additions to the code include:

  • the use of gender-neutral pronouns for a broader scope of representation;
  • expanded definitions to improve clarity;
  • improvements to procedural fairness guidelines;
  • the addition of York’s postering guidelines;
  • the inclusion of language around conduct during off-campus experiential education opportunities and University-related issues/events; and
  • the disruption of academic evaluation (as per Senate Policy on Academic Honesty).

There were also updates surrounding complaints, including:

  • an extension to the definition of who can file a complaint;
  • the timeline to amend a complaint;
  • changes regarding safety concerns; and
  • an emphasis on informal resolution as the preferred approach when resolving complaints.

To see the changes to the code, visit the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities web page. York community members are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the code to better support themselves and each other.

Learn more about the Office of Student Community Relations on the OSCR website.

Kindness Campaign promotes community and support this fall

Campus-Walk-FEATURED banner

York University students, staff and faculty are invited to join the Division of Students in spreading kindness on campus and online through the Kindness Campaign this September.

With a focus on patience and non-judgemental support, this important campaign fosters an ongoing dialogue about the importance of kindness in our everyday lives as we get used to new health protocols this fall. Gentle reminders and tips around kindness taking time, holding space and giving support will inspire York community members to take the campaign to heart as we navigate changes to the ways we interact.

York Kindness Campaign banner

“It has been a long time since a lot of us have interacted in person on our campuses,” said Alfred Ene, manager of the Office of Student Community Relations (OSCR). “For most of our new students, staff and faculty, it is their first time. The Kindness Campaign is a helpful reminder to stay mindful of others in the community as we navigate new ways of being around each other and move forward together. Whether it is helping out a colleague or a stranger who needs support, waiting a few extra minutes for a service or even getting coffee for the person behind you in line, simple acts of kindness will let everyone on our campuses feel welcome and supported.”

To get involved and show your support, explore the Kindness Toolkit to download, use and share campaign assets, from social media avatars and Zoom backgrounds to website buttons and print postcards. Let’s help spread some kindness!

The Kindness Campaign also helps raise awareness about the supports and services offered by the Division of Students, including Athletics & Recreation; the Centre for Sexual Violence Response, Support & Education; OSCR; Student Counselling, Health & Well-being; and Student Accessibility Services.

To learn more about the Kindness Campaign, visit go.yorku.ca/kindness.

Office of the University Registrar launches new Student Advisory Committee

Featured image shows students walking

This fall, the Office of the University Registrar will be introducing the Student Advisory Committee.

The Student Advisory Committee will bring together students with a diversity of backgrounds and experiences to provide a thoughtful and dynamic perspective on matters that impact the student journey at York University.

A graphic showing three students and the words Office of the University Registrar
Join the Student Advisory committee

Through collaboration and consultation, members of this new committee will work with the Office of the University Registrar to ensure that policies, projects and services provided are reflective of students’ diverse thoughts, ideas and perspectives. By working together, the committee will be a collaborative and positive force for high-quality student services.

Applications to serve on the Student Advisory Committee are now open. The deadline to apply to be a member of this committee is Sept. 28.

To learn more about the committee, including the Terms of Reference and meeting schedule, visit the Office of the University Registrar website at go.yorku.ca/sac.

York University’s 2021 Orientation kicks off this weekend. Here’s a look at what’s planned

With fall term classes beginning on Sept. 8, the official start of the new academic year at York University is almost underway – and that means there’s plenty for new and returning students to do, think about and remember.

Luckily, the Orientation 2021 website helps with all of that, providing a schedule of events and corresponding registration information, a college finder tool, a resource guide listing academic and financial supports and student services, information about the York Orientation Welcome Kit and much more.

Due to the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of this year’s Orientation events will be held virtually.

Orientation 2021

This year’s Orientation Week runs from Aug. 28 to Sept. 5 and includes a variety of events, workshops and icebreakers during which students will have a chance to meet other first-year students as well as upper-year students in their respective colleges and Faculties.

For more information about the various Orientation programs and how to register, students can visit the college and Faculty website links below. (Students can use the college finder tool to determine which Orientation to sign up for based on their academic program’s college affiliation.)

York University offers a wide variety of Orientation programming for new and incoming students

Orientation Day

One of the most highly anticipated events of the week is always York Orientation Day, a full day of activities on Sept. 3, where incoming students will be introduced to their professors, fellow students and University resources, and get a glimpse into what their first year at York will be like.

Academic Orientation will be hosted by the colleges and Faculties, with most sessions being held in the morning, followed by the 2021 York Orientation Day Welcome Ceremony, which will welcome the incoming undergraduate class with a special video premiering on the Orientation website homepage at 11:30 a.m. For more information about Academic Orientation, click here.

Black Excellence YU Welcome Event

Black Excellence YU (BEYU) provides Black students with the supports they need to transition to university and maximize their student experience on the path to graduation. The BEYU Welcome Event, taking place on Sept. 21 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., will foster a sense of community among incoming students so they feel welcomed, seen and supported at York, while equipping new Black students with the knowledge of where to go for a range of academic and personal support. For more information, visit this link.

Indigenous Student Orientation

The Centre for Indigenous Student Services (CISS) welcomes incoming Indigenous Students to York. Meet the staff at CISS, learn about our services and meet other Indigenous students at York on Aug. 24 from noon to 1 p.m. via Zoom.

International Student Orientation

The International Student Virtual Orientation, taking place Aug. 23, 25 and 27, is a great way to start the first semester, prepare for university life and connect with other international students. York International and so many other supports, services and resources at York are all still available, no matter where in the world students are.

Alternatively, for those who are on campus, join for a fun afternoon of activities and food in person at the International Student Picnic taking place on Sept. 2, 6 and 10. This is a great way for first- and second-year students to learn more about the Keele Campus, connect with students from the same Faculty and make new friends. There will be a campus tour towards the end of the picnic.

For more information and to register, visit this link.

Mature and Transfer Student Orientation

In addition to the Mature Student Orientation taking place Aug. 26, all newly admitted mature and transfer students are encouraged to take part in the Mature Student First-Year Experience. The program consists of a series of online stand-alone workshops aimed at supporting mature and transfer students’ transition to York. Students may participate in as few or as many sessions as they would like via Moodle, an interactive learning platform used throughout York to deliver course content online. It is available 24-7 and lets students set their own pace for learning.

Residence Orientation

Residence Orientation will be multifaceted this year. Housing Services will host a video series outlining what it is like to live in residence, followed by individual building Orientation events that will take place during Orientation Week and the first week of school. Students should ask their Don about it when they move in.

YorkFest 2021

Each year the York Federation of Students aims to make YorkFest the largest back-to-school Orientation festival held on a Canadian University campus. Get ready for a week packed with good vibes and fun, Sept. 20 to 24. For more information, visit the YorkFest web page.