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VIU Student Pulse News: October 11, 2023

October 11, 2023

Make mental health a priority 🌈

The semester is ramping up and mid-terms are in full swing for many. Are you making your mental health a priority? VIU student blogger Becky Duarte has some advice to help you do just that.

Also in this issue:

  • Construction at Shq’apthut
  • Soccer home games
  • Free money to pay for school

Need to know

Shq’apthut construction begins 🚧

A project to expand Shq’apthut, VIU’s Indigenous Gathering Place, began this week. The expansion will add ceremonial space, dedicated office space for Elders-in-Residence and more. This project is funded through a BC government grant and fundraising efforts. The pedestrian pathways surrounding the building are closed. Alternate pathways and wheelchair routes are marked.

Deficit mitigation plan 📝

Last week, VIU shared a deficit mitigation plan that charts a path for the university to return to balanced annual budgets in three years while prioritizing its continued commitment to student learning. Read more about this plan.

National Coming Out Day event 🏳️‍🌈

The Positive Space Alliance hosts Coming Out Isn’t Just for Queers Anymore on Wednesday, October 11 from 3 to 4 pm in Building 200, Room 203, Nanaimo campus. Speaker Gerald Walton, an Education Professor at Lakehead University and editor of The Gay Agenda: Claiming Space, Identity, and Justice, imagines what it might mean for everyone to come out, regardless of gender or sexual identity. More info.

VIU statement on the war in the Middle East

Vancouver Island University is deeply saddened by the outbreak of war in the Middle East and the tragic loss of lives in Israel and Palestine. We recognize these events are distressful and a cause for concern among members of our university community. Our thoughts are with those in our community with ties to the region. We encourage anyone who is feeling distressed directly or indirectly by this violence to reach out to available supports.


VIU soccer – Last home games of the regular season ⚽️

Support the Mariners women’s and men’s soccer teams this weekend at their final home games of the regular season! Both teams are fighting for playoff positioning in crucial games against the Capilano University Blues. Kickoffs are 11:30 am and 1:45 pm at Merle Logan Turf Field on Saturday, October 14 and 2:45 pm and 5:15 pm at Q'unq'inuqwstuxw Stadium (NDSS) on Sunday, October 15. Free to attend.

DiscoverFest at VIU 🥳

This new, free festival at the Nanaimo campus is open to all students. Stroll the artisan market, check out the live music, take part in fun activities and enjoy a variety of delicious food options. It all happens October 21, 12 to 4 pm! If you want to round out your volunteer experience, you can also sign up to help out. More info.

Class Shadow Day 🎒

Do you know a high school student interesting in sitting in on a VIU class? Tell them to sign up for Class Shadow Day on October 20 to experience life as a VIU student for a day. Take up to three classes in the day with real university students and professors. The best part? There’s no homework. Learn more.

International students’ mixer 👥

Mix and mingle during the second International Students’ Mixer of the year on Friday, October 13 from 4 to 6 pm at the VIU Students’ Union Pub. Enjoy happy hour, drink specials and activities to meet others. Learn more.

Westwood Lake Witch Paddle 🧙‍♀️

Save the date! All witches and warlocks are welcome to join the Westwood Lake Witch Paddle on October 29 from 11 am to 2 pm at Westwood Lake. Hosted by the VIU Students’ Union.

Language in the Library 🗣

Join Jane Alcorn, Penelakut, and Patricia Geddes, Librarian and Coordinator for Indigenous Initiatives, to learn together from living libraries. A welcoming hour of introductory hul'q'umi'num' language and story. October 13 at noon in the Madrona Room (Room 332) at the VIU Library on the Nanaimo campus. Registration required. 

Pancake breakfast 🥞

Join the ‘su’luqw’a’ Community Cousins for a pancake breakfast on Thursday, October 12 in Building 355, Room 211 from 8 to 9:30 am. Email for more info.

OCTAD exhibit

VIU’s View Gallery presents OCTAD, Art and Community, an exhibit from October 12 to December 8. An opening reception is Thursday, October 12 from 5 to 7 pm. The View Gallery (Building 330) is open Tuesday to Friday from 10 am to 4 pm during exhibits.

Scarecrow Spectacular 🎃

Enjoy a fun day during Milner Gardens & Woodlands’ first annual Scarecrow Spectacular from October 27 to 29 from 11 am to 3 pm. Everyone attending is encouraged to dress up in costume. Visitors can wander through Scarecrow Lane located in the haunted gardens and vote for their favourite spooktacular scarecrow. Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for youth. Children, VIU students (with VIU student ID) and Milner members are admitted for free.

Collateral Damage – fall play

VIU’s Theatre Department presents Collateral Damage this fall. Audience members are advised that the play involves strong language and imagery concerning rape and murder. The show runs October 19 to 21 and October 26 to 28 at VIU’s Malaspina Theatre (Building 310) at the Nanaimo campus. There is a matinee on October 26 at 10 am. Tickets are $10 and are available on Eventbrite.

Type Love exhibit

VIU’s graphic design department presents the Type Love Exhibit. The exhibit challenged students to be creative and innovative while working with typography that includes the Type Love wordmark. The exhibit runs at the VIU Library until the reading break.

WorldVIU Days 🌎

WorldVIU Days (November 6 to 10) is VIU’s annual cross-campus celebration of diverse cultures. This year’s theme is Community Through Movement. Mark your calendars! Here’s a preview of some of the key events that week:

  • Breaking Bread: featuring breads from around the world
  • Global Fashion Show: students show off clothing from their home countries
  • WorldVIU Stage: Performances of music and dance in the main cafeteria
  • International Silent Disco: Dance to two live DJs!
  • Diwali Celebration: A celebration of light

VIU Mariners volleyball – Home openers 🏐

Bump! Join the VIU Mariners women’s and men’s volleyball teams for their home openers versus the College of the Rockies Avalanche at the VIU Gym on Thursday, October 19 and Friday, October 20. Both VIU teams finished fourth in Canada last year and feature plenty of firepower in 2023-24. Games go at 6 pm and 8 pm. Come early on Thursday for a VIUSU tailgate party. Free admission for VIU students.

Cowichan campus hours 

A reminder for students to get your VIU ID card! There is a change to the Cowichan door schedule for student ID card access effective October 16, 2023:

  • Monday to Thursday: 7 am to 9 pm, student ID required for access from 5 to 9 pm 
  • Friday: 7 am to 5 pm, no after-hours access
  • Saturday: student ID card required for access 9 am to 4 pm 
  • Sunday and stats: closed all day

Stitch N’ Bitch Spooky Edition 👻

The Stitch N’ Bitch Spooky Edition is happening on October 12 at 5:30 pm. Hosted in the Students’ Union front office (Building 193). Bring a small couch pillow or throw pillow and add mini ghosts to them! We’ll provide the ghost materials, colouring materials, paints and canvas, stitching kits, stickers and more.

VIUSU Free Swim at the NAC 🏊‍♂️

Mark your calendars! VIU students receive free admission to swim or soak in the hot tub at the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre on Wednesday, October 18. A virtual ticket will be available on the VIUSU app beginning Monday, October 16. Your virtual ticket (with your VIU Student ID card) is valid only on Wednesday, October 18 during the following pool times: 6 am to 2 pm or 2:45 to 9 pm. 

VIUSU election voting days 

Make sure to check your email today (Wednesday, October 11) to receive your unique voting link and vote for student representatives. Any link issues or general questions can be sent to

AI conversations 🤖

During this conversation sponsored by the Office of Graduate Studies, Master of Education student Harleen Kalra will introduce applications such as, and VIU librarians will help guide the conversation. Event is on October 23 from 4 to 6 pm, Building 108, Room 105. Learn more.

2SLGBTQ+ socials 🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️

The Positive Space Alliance hosts socials in Building 250, Room 402 from 12 to 1 pm every second Wednesday. Dates: September 13, 27. October 11 and 25. November 8 and 22. December 6.

Cultural Connections road trips and hikes 🚗

Every semester, Cultural Connections organizes road trips and local hikes for all VIU students. Hikes are only $2! Next up:  

  • October 13: Jack Point Park hike
  • October 14: Salt Spring Island Day Trip
  • October 20: The Abyss trail

Supports & services

Make mental health a priority 🌈

Take a moment for yourself and show support for others during World Mental Health Month. Check out VIU student blogger Becky Duarte's insightful tips

Free mental health check-up 🩺

Mental and emotional health are as important as physical health. Let’s check them! Take 30 to 45 minutes and drop in for a mental health screening with VIU’s counselling team on October 19, anytime between 8:30 to 11:30 am at the Royal Arbutus Room, Upper Cafeteria. Resources and activities to help cultivate well-being available. Learn more.

Connect with an educational advisor 👥

Educational advisors can help you with course selection, preparation for applications to limited-entry programs, getting your education on track, reviewing your options for switching program areas and more. Drop-in hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm and Wednesdays from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm. Or book an appointment through Experience Hub.

Support for your academic goals 📚

VIU offers a range of support services to help you achieve your goals. Here are a few to check out:

Free money to pay for school 💰

Want free money to help pay for school? The Canada Learning Bond provides up to $2,000 for eligible students and families to help with the cost of post-secondary. Find out if you qualify.

Future you 🌎

Do you want to discover rewarding careers that help build a sustainable world? The Canada Foundation for Innovation is hosting Future you: How to build your career in environmental sustainability. Hear from recent graduates who have chosen roles as consultants, entrepreneurs, researchers and more. Webinar on October 19 and November 28. Learn more.

Rental property maintenance & pests 🐜

Dripping pipes, creeping fungus and biting bed bugs? Not everyone’s favourite topics but the cooler months can bring unwelcome guests. Avoid problems, know what to look out for – and what to do if your bedsheets start hopping. Read this VIU Blog post for more info. And access information and support about finding housing and roommates, temporary accommodation, and contracts, fees and tenancy issues on the Off-Campus Housing website.

Safer Campuses for Everyone

Want to contribute to creating a Safer Campus for Everyone and have a chance to win a $500 tuition credit? Take this self-paced, online training to learn about the importance of consent in all relationships and how to intervene to prevent sexual violence. Learn how to enrol and send your completed certificate to

Get cyber safe 💻

Phishing and extortion scams targeting international students have been increasing since the start of the year. Learn what they are and how to protect yourself on the Get Cyber Safe blog and on the blog, 4 top scams making the rounds.

Cyber Security Awareness Month 2023 💪

Learn how to step up your cyber security fitness this October. Participate in Cyber Security Awareness Month and win a prize by entering daily challenges.

Shq’apthut Well-being Wednesdays 🦮

Join us in Building 355, Room 211 on Wednesdays from 10 am to 2 pm for educational advising, Elders-in-Residence, Bannock, smudging, Reiki sessions and:

  • Drop-in math support | 10 am to 1:30 pm
  • Writing Centre | 11 am to 1 pm
  • Eddie, the St. John Therapy Dog | 12:30 to 1:30 pm
  • Library research assistance | 1 to 2 pm

Wellness Peers Program 👥

Visit the Wellness Lounge at the Nanaimo campus library for free tea and hot chocolate, fidgets, adult colouring, friendly chats with the wellness peers and cuddles with therapy dogs. Available Tuesdays to Thursdays. Check out our web page to learn about fall hours.

REACH Award applications open 

Are you doing (or planning to start) a super cool project that will increase our knowledge and spark our curiosity? Consider applying for a REACH Award! There are 10 awards for undergrad students and five for graduate students worth $3,000 each. Apply by October 31. More info.

Lunch & Learn Thursday: Writing to Convince 🖊

This workshop is organized by the Office of Graduate Studies in partnership with The Writing Centre and International Academic Support. This Lunch & Learn will provide the structure of an argumentative essay. Very useful for all papers that require you to prove your point, including research papers. When: Thursday, October 12 at 11:30 am in the research lounge in Building 305, Room 440.

SafeTALK Workshop 

Are you interested in working towards building a more supportive VIU campus culture? Join the SafeTALK workshop on Friday, October 13, 9 am to 1 pm, in Building 210, Room 105. You’ll learn how to prevent suicide at this training by recognizing signs, engaging someone and connecting them to an intervention resource for further support. This free workshop is open to VIU staff and students. Register through your Co-Curricular Record app.

Education abroad travel grant ✈️

Are you part of the VIU Exchange program, departing in Spring 2024? Apply for a Travel Grant by October 25. These grants are designed to increase participation in study/work abroad experiences, particularly to non-traditional destinations. This low-barrier application could bring in $5,000 or $10,000 towards your experience. Contact our office with any questions:

Mark your calendars

Great British Columbia ShakeOut ⚠️

The annual Great British Columbia ShakeOut earthquake and evacuation drill will occur on October 19 from 9:45 to 10:05 am. Earthquake preparation is important for everyone in our region, which is a seismically active zone, and all of VIU’s campuses participate. Make sure you have the VIU Safety App installed on your smart device and it is ready to receive notifications! Android users – if you haven’t clicked on the App in a while, it may go into “hibernation” mode and you won’t receive important notifications from VIU. Please check out these instructions to disable Android App hibernation.

Scholarships, awards and bursaries 💰

Apply for scholarships, awards and bursaries from the finances tab in your student record. The online profile will be available from September 1 to March 30. Visit the Financial Aid website for more information and current deadlines.

Stay in the know

Stay on top of what's happening at VIU. Find ways to get involved: 

VIU Safety App

Get the VIU mobile app designed to let you know as quickly as possible if there is a safety issue happening on our campus and if so, what to do about it. Once you download, don’t forget to enable push notifications so you are notified immediately of campus closures and other safety issues. It also has other great features including:

  • Click to call for emergency contacts and campus security
  • Interactive campus maps
  • Safety toolbox alarm and location notifier
  • Up-to-date weather alerts

To download just go to the App StoreGoogle Play or Blackberry App World.

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