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

Sooke’s First Nations have Iroquois links

References to the proud Iroquois race tend to make one think of… Continue reading

Police-run Youth for Change and Inclusion camp bids fond farewell to tireless directors

Founder Sgt. Paul Brookes has run camp empowering youth and creating leaders for 16 years

Canadians not afraid to take the plunge for the second time

Most will wait almost five years before remarrying

John Cleese sets fall date for Victoria return

June show sold out, comedic actor returns Nov. 4

Famed Syrian artist displays paintings created while living in refugee camps

Farid Abdulbaki’s ‘Between Two Worlds’ exhibit will be displayed May 24-26 in Victoria

UPDATE: B.C. pilot killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Most Read