In today’s world, it can be hard to find a place to truly belong.
It’s a struggle that many of us are familiar with. University is one of the most troubling transitional periods in a person's life — some are enrolling right out of high school, some are pursuing a degree as an adult, and some are continuing their education in novel and meaningful ways. Whoever you are, the stress that comes with attending university can be overwhelming, especially when compounded with the many challenges that students face in this day and age.
The prevailing pressure that exists for many students makes it crucial to be able to find a port in the storm, where you can be comfortable as who you are. A space where you can belong, and know that you can be in dialogue with people who face similar issues.
The SUO’s Resource Centers are just that. Emerging after the foundation of the Pride Resource Center and Women’s Resource Center in 2003, they have been a key part of the campus community for years now. There are five Resource Centers: the Indigenous People’s Collective, Peer Support Network, Pride Resource Center, Sex Positivity Center, and Women’s Resource Center. These spaces serve the campus community in crucial ways that allow for dialogue and growth in a safe environment.
Or at least, they should.
This academic year, the opening of the Resource Centers has been delayed, meaning crucial resources for students are much harder to access than they have been previously. On top of that, no clear timeline for their reopening has been provided, increasing confusion amidst the student body and leaving many questioning what exactly is going on.
The Resource Centers play a vital role for students, especially those in marginalized communities on our campus. Therefore, The Phoenix reached out to SUO President Cade Desjarlais for comment, hoping to find answers as to why the delay occurred, and when we can expect the Resource Centers to open once more for the coming term.
Fortunately, he was able to provide both.
“The main reason [for the delay] is staffing shortages and capacity as well as the wildfires that delayed the SUO’s workload for the busy month of September. It has pushed everything back and we are still working through catching up on these delays… We will be back to full capacity next week.”
This kind of complication is not unheard of. Only a few short weeks before the 2023 Winter Term started, the area around campus was issued an evacuation order that displaced many residents, and disrupted any in-person work that might have been done.
Still, the SUO’s duty to the campus community is to do their best to ensure that students are provided with services they need. The realities of that, however, tend to be more complicated than one might expect.
“The other dynamic at play [with the delay] is that we have been experimenting with different models for the resource centres over the last few years, trying to find the best way to manage these centres coming back from COVID. […] The attempt this September was to hire a facilitator that would oversee all Resource Centres and their volunteers to ensure that programming is active and events occur. This facilitator was hired, but stepped down shortly after three weeks due to school demands. This set us back once again. It has also been difficult to find volunteers for the resource centres despite several call outs, student engagement, and postings. We still lack volunteers for the IPC.”
The world is always changing, which means UBCO is always changing, and the SUO always needs to find ways to work with this change. That comes with complications, unexpected difficulties, and a need to adapt that isn’t always fulfilled to its greatest extent. We can only hope that these kinds of delays don’t happen again.
Fortunately, it seems that this period of uncertainty and unease is soon coming to a close.
“The goal is to have as many resource centres open [as possible] by next Monday [October 23] and have office hours in place for each group, should nothing more come up.”
So, Monday it is. If all goes to plan, then we’ll see operations resume as previously planned. Resource Centers are open on weekdays at UNC 132B.