Shoestring Initiative spearheaded by a UVic sociology doctoral student is looking to remove barriers and provide support for students living in or from a background of poverty. (File photo)

UVic advocacy group builds resources for students living in poverty

Shoestring Initiative is working to advance socioeconomic diversity in universities

An initiative spearheaded by a UVic sociology doctoral student looks to remove barriers and provide support for students living in or from a background of poverty.

“As a student from generational poverty, I know how hard it can be to try to get to university, and ‘succeed’ on a very unfamiliar landscape, with a culture I don’t understand,” says Elaine Laberge, who launched the Shoestring Initiative with three associate professor co-founders.

The project’s aim is to advance socioeconomic diversity in Canadian universities by providing community, support and advocacy among UVic community members who identify as being from (or living in) poverty, foster care, working class backgrounds or as first-generation university students.

The initiative grew from Laberge’s nine-month narrative inquiry into how growing up in persistent childhood poverty shapes undergraduate students’ experiences.

RELATED: B.C. introduces poverty reduction plan to cut child poverty by 50 per cent

With their inaugural gathering on Nov. 1 that saw more than 35 students, professors, and advisors in attendance, the group is moving forward to increase access to resources, build partnerships with community and university service providers and host social events for the community.

The website has a lengthy list of resources aimed at connecting students with food, product and health care assistance, as well as general educational resources to help with studies.

There is also a page that has an ongoing collection of academic research papers, books, reports and multimedia pieces addressing issues related to students and poverty.

The initiative hosts a weekly get together called Shoestring Tuesdays for students to come together for support and learning. The idea is to have professors, advisors, counsellors and librarians there to provide educational guidance and “share their own lived experiences of composing lives on the higher education landscape.”

RELATED: High housing costs in Greater Victoria are forcing university students into suburbs

Part of the Shoestring Initiative is to try to create long-lasting changes at the structural and institutional level to support students, faculty, and advisors now and in the future.

Working with Laberge on the project are co-founders Catherine Léger (Associate Professor, French), Colette Smart (Associate Professor, Psychology), and Su Urbanczyk (Associate Professor, Linguistics).


 

keri.coles@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

World’s largest hockey stick getting new lights

New lighting system can change colours and patterns

Efforts begin to convert Kingzett Lake into a park

Victoria radio announcer begins initiative with petition

Vancouver Islander the world’s best shoe pitcher

Duncan’s Lindsay Hodgins wins horseshoe world championship

Vancouver Island aircraft structure grads in high demand

1,400 job openings for aircraft mechanics and inspectors by 2028: BC Labour Market Outlook

PHOTOS: Inside the opening of Langford’s expanded Westhills Stadium

The grand opening of the expanded West Shore stadium complex is on schedule for Aug. 24

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Toronto activist calling on federal parties to nominate more black candidates

Fewer than 20 black Canadians have been nominated so far, including some Liberal MPs seeking re-election

Kraft Heinz brand baby food recalled in B.C. due to possibility of insects

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the product should not be consumed

Most Read