The Spill the Tea event is just as important to many students today as it was when it was founded during the pandemic. “If you’re looking for people to make connections with or relate with, it’s a really good way to start," said Josée LeClair, a professional writing student.

Spill the Tea, a weekly event hosted by Student Support Services, aims to create a safe space for students to talk about anything and everything.

From complex topics such as sex and relationships to hearing what is new in each other’s lives, the event hopes to create a sense of community.

At the event on Valentine’s Day, attendees were provided with comfortable couches and chairs that sit in the college’s Student Health and Wellness Zone on the third floor of the E-building.

Everyone was also given the option of free tea or coffee, as well as free reusable mugs.

The informal style of the event allowed students to relax, listen to others and be heard.

The event often has a new topic each week to start the conversation. On Feb. 14, the topic was, “Who do you love today?” but students were welcome to talk about whatever they liked.

Organized by Patti Hancock, a counsellor with counselling services, and Sarah Crawford, Algonquin’s sexual violence prevention and harm reduction coordinator, the event began three years ago during the COVID-19 period when most classes were online.

According to Hancock, it was created to provide a safe space for students who felt they did not have a community or support.

Spill the Tea is just as important now as it was then. The sense of community is stronger now that everyone is able to gather in person.

For Josée LeClair, a professional writing student, Spill the Tea has remained an important event for the past three years. LeClair’s experience starting at Algonquin was lonely. After reaching out to resident advisors, LeClair was informed of groups on campus, one of them being Spill the Tea.

“Ever since I’ve found those groups, they really started becoming a community for me,” said LeClair. “If you’re looking for people to make connections with or relate with, it’s a really good way to start.”

Shameen Syed, an Algonquin interior design student, was introduced to the group through her sister who works at the college.

Since then, Syed always makes time to participate in the weekly group discussions.

“It’s helped me with understanding that other people are going through similar things that I am,” said Syed. “I enjoy being part of groups that happen here.”

Spill the Tea takes place on campus every Tuesday from 1 p.m to 2 p.m in the Health and Wellness Zone which is located on the third floor of the Student Commons, also known as the E-building.

The event is set to run each week until April 11. New attendees are always welcome.