Health Minds Healthy College

Campus Well-Being

Campus Well-Being unit at RRC Polytech

January 13, 2022

Red River College Polytechnic (RRC Polytech) is pleased to announce its strategy for a more holistic approach to physical and mental well-being, facilitated through the new Campus Well-Being unit.

The new unit is an amalgamation of the Athletics and Recreation unit and RRC Polytech’s College-wide mental health strategy Healthy Minds Healthy College, and strives to create more opportunities for students, staff and faculty to participate in virtual and in-person activities that improve their overall well-being.

As part of the transition towards holistic well-being, RRC Polytech has made the difficult decision to cease participation in the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference and will no longer operate Rebels sports teams.

Earlier this week we met with the Red River College Students’ Association executive team to inform them of this change and hear their ideas for how the SA can be included in the unit’s planning.

SA President Avery Halldorson provided the following message of support:

“The SA is supportive of this move and we look forward to seeing and participating in the activities and events the new unit brings to the College community.

We are in an evolving world, and while the varsity athletics program has played a role in improving students’ mental and physical health, the new Campus Well-Being unit can extend those same benefits to more students and staff. The new plan will provide something for everyone, from any background, and will be so beneficial to how students and staff integrate movement and self-care into their daily lives. In this new world, we have to find ways to adapt and be better, and I think this will be widely appreciated.“

It is important to highlight that this shift will not impact operation of The Loft or the Exchange District Fitness Facility. Both facilities are currently closed due to the recent rise in Covid-19 cases. This decision is guided by Public Health recommendations and a plan is in place to begin operating the Loft and Exchange District Fitness facilities when it is safe to do so.

Campus Well-Being was created as part of the Healthy Minds Healthy College Five Year Roadmap to Action and aligns with the College’s new Strategic Plan by: enhancing the student experience, fostering a culture of inclusion, and increasing opportunities for employee engagement.

The Four Priorities of Campus Well-Being:

Priority 1: Campus Well-Being is guided by a holistic view of health and well-being

  • Evidence, assessment and evaluation of programs to direct needs
  • Facilitated through a lens of equity
  • Providing more opportunities to all students, staff and faculty to connect, and maintain good physical and mental health.

Priority 2: Sport and Fitness enhancements on campus and at home

  • NDC Loft and Roblin fitness facilities
  • Fitness classes onsite
  • Virtual live and on demand fitness classes
  • Fitness consultations
  • “Ask the Expert” lunch and learns
  • Intramurals (basketball, futsal, volleyball, pickle ball, badminton etc.)
  • Activity challenges
  • E-sports tournaments and watch events (in collaboration with the Manitoba Esports Association)

Priority 3: Mental Well-Being

  • Through our College-wide Mental Health Strategy where we seek to:
    • Increase awareness and literacy of mental health (reducing stigma)
    • Provide advice and consultation; share internal and external resources
    • Build capacity through training (safeTALK, The Working Mind, Mental Health First Aid)
    • Partner with other internal and external stakeholders to implement:
      • National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety
      • National Standard for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students

Priority 4: Recreation and Wellness

  • Arts based activities
  • Relaxation based activities
  • Mindfulness and meditation
  • On-campus massage therapy

The Campus Well-Being unit is currently developing its full annual plan, and will begin making announcements about activities soon.

Currently Breanna Sawatzky is Acting Manager for Campus Well-Being. Breanna has been with RRC Polytech since 2016 as the College’s Mental Health Coordinator and has worked to implement the Healthy Minds Healthy College strategy and develop the five year Roadmap to Action.

I am grateful for Breanna’s expertise in health and wellness, her commitment to consultation and evidence-based practice and her enthusiasm for Campus Well-Being.  Breanna has degree in Psychology, and is currently working towards a Masters of Public Health through the University of Victoria.

Recruitment and competition for the Manager position, as well as other key positions in Campus Well-Being will be forthcoming.

For more information, please review the frequently asked questions below.

We look forward to connecting with each of you soon.

Laureen Janzen, M.A.
Director, Student Support Services
RRC Polytech

Frequently Asked Questions:

Will any staff lose their jobs from the decision to cease Rebels sports teams?

No current staff will be affected by this decision. Due to Covid-19, the Rebels athletics program has not been operational for close to two years, and all staff involved in the program had previously been redeployed.

The shift towards a holistic Campus Well-Being unit will allow RRC Polytech to employ students on a contract, casual, or part-time basis.

The College is also actively recruiting permanent positions within the Campus Well-Being unit.

Was this decision made due to budget cuts?

No, there were no budget cuts made. All funds that were previously used to support the athletics program will be diverted to Campus Well-Being.

Sports and competition help students focus on their mental and physical health, and help relieve the stress from their studies. Why would you take that away?

The Rebels athletics program involved around 100-120 students per year across the four sports RRC Polytech had participated in. Through the Campus Well-Being unit RRC Polytech will be able to expand the mental and physical benefits of sport and competition to even more students – as well as staff and faculty.

We are currently not working or learning on campus, how can we get involved in Campus Well-Being?

During Covid-19, the Campus Well-Being unit will expand its offerings of virtual activities, including physical, mental and recreational sessions.

Once staff and students begin to return to campus full-time, many of those offerings will shift to in person – however we will continue to host virtual activities as well.

The unit will also work with the School of Indigenous Education, International Education, the Language Training Centre and each of the regional campuses to explore the best ways to engage staff and students in person when it is safe to do so.

RRC Polytech campuses are located on the lands of Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Anishininew, Dakota, and Dené, and the National Homeland of the Red River Métis.

We recognize and honour Treaty 3 Territory Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, the source of Winnipeg’s clean drinking water. In addition, we acknowledge Treaty Territories which provide us with access to electricity we use in both our personal and professional lives.

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