As we approach the winter semester, I extend warm wishes to each of you during this well-deserved break. The upcoming holiday season provides an opportunity to step back from the demands of college life, connect with friends and family and indulge in some rejuvenating downtime. I encourage each of you to savour this time, reflect on your accomplishments over the past months, and recharge for the challenges and opportunities that Winter 2024 will bring.
To those of you who completed your studies in Fall 2023, I would like to offer my heartfelt congratulations. The entire Algonquin College community is proud of your success and we all look forward to seeing what you do next.
Looking ahead, the College remains committed to delivering an exceptional learner-centred experience. Our commitment to personalized education is aimed at meeting the unique needs of every learner and I am grateful to have you on this journey with us.
A key part of being a learner-drive institution is recognizing the challenges our student community face and taking steps to assist wherever we can. I want to draw your attention to the various avenues of financial aid available. A number of bursaries are available for the Winter 2024 semester, with applications open from Dec. 19 to Jan. 23. The College also offers a wide range of scholarships, the Algonquin Students’ Association Food Cupboard, part-time employment options for learners and more.
Additionally, Campus Services is hosting a holiday book buyback that will last until Jan. 19, an initiative that will give learners the chance to sell select used textbooks for up to 50 per cent of the current price. These books will then be available at significant discount through Connections, giving learners a more affordable option to support their studies.
As we look forward to times of rest and good cheer, let us also be mindful of the need for togetherness and understanding, especially in challenging times globally. It is these periods of unrest and conflict that make it all the more important for us to support one another, offer a kind word and share in the joys of the season together.
These times also highlight the incredible compassion and generosity of Algonquin College learners who go to great lengths to support those around them. I was deeply moved when I attended the Community and Justice Services program’s 24 Hours of Homelessness fundraising event a few weeks ago, where learners took to the streets to raise funds and awareness for the city’s homeless population. This important event saw learners sacrifice time, energy and comfort to help those who needed it most. Your commitment to supporting those in need is truly inspiring.
This is also a time to recognize that this festive season does not necessarily bring joy to everyone, and that melancholy and anxiety are common during the holiday season. We should all take the time to ensure everyone in our community feels a sense of belonging, compassion and companionship in the coming weeks. To anyone struggling, please remember that the College has resources available to you, including counselling services, spiritual support, academic distress counsel and peer support options.
I hope that every member of the Algonquin College community finds moments of relaxation, joy and peace over the holiday season. Take this time to set stress aside and focus on what matters the most to you. Despite the winter chill, may you find warmth in the company of friends and family. I wish you and your loved ones the happiest possible holiday season, and I look forward to seeing you all in the new year!