Message from the VPA

‘Inspire Your Heart with the Arts’ Day is a nationally recognized event usually held on Jan. 31st – a day to ponder how art affects your heart. Whether we are touched by music or see into an artist’s soul through their work, art has the power to change us, to inspire our hearts.

At this week’s Student Services Leaders’ meeting, Dr. Pablo Ortiz, Director of Student Affairs, read a poem by Roberto Juarroz. We are privileged at this place of learning to be able to dive reflectively into art – into poetry – as a way to ground ourselves in art and thoughtfulness. We asked ourselves how we can make the most of this time of COVID, this parenthetical space we have been gifted that strips away so much of the busyness of everyday life and invites us to focus on what is truly important.

I share this poem and a photo of the Student Services Leaders taken from our online meeting. These are the people behind the scenes who are surrounding and supporting all of our students at StMU. We spent our meeting considering how we can best provide the conditions you need to thrive. We talked about the elements for growth of strong trees – compost rich soil, sun, rain, diverse ecosystem – and how we can be good gardeners in the soil of the StMU learning community.

Today’s message addresses all the parts of us that need tending in order to thrive: our imaginative spirits, our bodies, and our minds. I offer lots of resources to help you flourish this term. What really pleases me is how students are starting to send me items to include in Friday messages –and the initiatives you are working on.

Start now for a really successful term. Don’t wait until you’re feeling stretched – get inspired and dive into all the cool things happening at and through StMU. Let’s make this a term to remember for all the ways in which we grew together and reached our goals in the most amazing ways!

So, in the spirit of ‘Inspire Your Hearts with the Arts,’ may you enjoy this poem and consider how you can flourish in this parenthetical space of COVID.

Teams Chat Windows

First Vertical Poetry (1958)
By Roberto Juarroz
*Translated by W.S. Merwin


I don’t want to get God mixed up with God.

That’s why I don’t wear a hat now,
I look for eyes in people’s eyes,
and I ask myself what it is that won’t let us wake,
while I’m here, between parentheses,
and thinking that everything may be a parenthesis.
While I finger this death with its train schedule
and trace my hands.
Because maybe that’s the whole game:
to trace lines around your hands
or the hands’ place.
To trace yourself between parentheses
and not outside.

I don’t want to get god mixed up with god.

Taking Care of Students – Bursaries in the Time of COVID

For Winter 2021 we gave out:

$5,000 in St. Mary’s University Education Bursaries
$11,000 in St. Mary’s University Bursaries
$17,000 in COVID-19 Student Emergency Bursaries

Advancement has announced the President’s Dinner UnGala to raise $150,000 in scholarships, bursaries and emergency funding for StMU students so we can continue to help students in need.

StMU Psychology Association and the PSYC 500 Students Present: Mental Health and Wellness Calendar

With February (AKA – Psychology Month) just around the corner, we have some exciting news coming your way! Starting Monday February 1st, the St. Mary’s Psychology Association will be partnering with the Psychology Honours (PSYC 500) students for a student-led, student-based mental health and wellness initiative.

We know it has been a tough time during COVID and online classes, so we have created a calendar with simple ‘challenges’ for each business day during the month of February to increase your mental health and wellness. Each week of the month, we will enter those who participate into a draw for a $50 gift certificate to one of 3 places of their choosing (Chapters/Indigo, Amazon, and Skip the Dishes)! Follow us @stmupsychassociation on Instagram where we will also be posting the calendar and challenges each day. Along with each daily posting, there will be additional information on what is involved, suggestions for your creative posts, or helpful links!

More information will be provided to all students through an email to your St. Mary’s email address – so be on the lookout! If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to the St. Mary’s Psychology Association President, Stephanie Bauer (, or the St. Mary’s Psychology Association social media pages: Instagram (@stmupsychassociation) or Facebook (Stmu Psychology Association)! For specific inquiries, shoot us an e-mail at:

Mind Body Spirit: Mindfulness Mondays & Café Conversations

Join other regular mental health events (same link):

  • Mindfulness Mondays (every Monday 9:00-9:30 am)
  • Café Conversation on current mental health topics (every Wednesday 9:00-9:30am)
MyStMU> Classes> LCBookings

You can also connect with an STMU Counsellor by texting 403-333-4292. STMU has 3 Counsellors available to talk or meet online for a secure and confidential conversation.

Online Peer Mentor program

FRIDAY afternoons, the Online Peer Mentor program offers online group discussions on student topics facilitated by a peer mentor.

Register at myStMU>Classes>LCBookings>Online Peer Mentor W21 calendar. Register HERE

Daniel (Peer Mentor) shares a bit more information on the Friday group sessions in his letter below:

Hi Students,

It’s hard to believe that we are already the end of January! Although my semester has been going well, I really miss connecting with other students, either one-on-one or in small groups. I’ve heard the same thing from other students. It certainly is hard to maintain community while online learning.

I have found that my conversations through the Peer Mentor program have been bright spots in my week—both one on one conversations as well as the group session we had last Friday. During Friday’s meeting we shared tips and strategies for using a course’ syllabus to plan for a successful semester. We all learned something and it was wonderful to talk with other students.

So, if you need advice on an assignment or want to talk about your semester with a successful student, book a one-on-one video chat with a Peer Mentor. And don’t forget that we have topic specific groups sessions every Friday. Go to MyStMU > Classes > LCBookings to register your spot.

The other Peer Mentors and I hope to see you soon!


Thriving in Action – a good fit for you?

The Centre for Learning Access and Student Success (CLASS) at StMU is pairing up with Counselling services to offer Thriving in Action – an 11 week cohort-based support to help students achieve greater personal and academic success.

Thriving in Action (TiA) is a proven model of support that was developed by Dr. Diana Brecher and Dr. Deena Shaffer at Ryerson University. This program combines resiliency skills with learning strategies in facilitated group sessions to empower students to make improvements in their post-secondary experience. This program is free of charge to students enrolled at StMU and will be delivered in an online format. Registration is limited and will be on a first come basis.


Who is this for?
TiA is well suited for any student who would like to improve their post-secondary experience, if you have experienced difficulties or would just like to make your experience better.

When: Tuesday afternoons from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m, this program will be initiated in the second week of February and continue for 10 weeks, finishing right before the final exam period.

Where: Online meetings will be held each week

How: Learning happens through your online participation and application of skills such as time management, habit building, motivation, and perseverance. You will share your successes with your peers in the program in a confidential and supportive learning environment.

If you are interested in registering in this program, and can commit to two hours per week, please respond by email expressing your interest, including a brief statement indicating why you wish to participate.

If you have questions with respect to this program, please do not hesitate to email.

Wishing you all the best,

Need Food?

Our neighbours at Deer Park United Church run a food program. If you are in need of food, access the google form for their food program here: It’s open Monday morning to Wednesdays at 4; hampers are delivered/picked up Thursdays between 4:00-6:30.

Kiran Stewart-McKee, RSW
Parish Social Worker
Deer Park United Church
Kiran is 403-278-8263.

Indigenous Elder on Campus – Join Virtually

Virtual Elders On Campus

Indigenous Elder on Campus – Join Virtually

Our neighbours at Deer Park United Church run a food program. If you are in need of food, access the google form for their food program here: It’s open Monday morning to Wednesdays at 4; hampers are delivered/picked up Thursdays between 4:00-6:30.

Kiran Stewart-McKee, RSW
Parish Social Worker
Deer Park United Church
Kiran is 403-278-8263.

Time Management, Procrastination, How to use your Syllabus,

Stephen Covey (Eisenhower) Time Management matrix


How to Use Your Syllabus (One pager)