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VIU receives $400,000 to address student needs 

An investment of $400,000 has been given to Vancouver Island University to help break down barriers for students in need of support. 

The Embark Student Foundation major grant program has funded the new initiative being implemented in eight different universities including VIU campuses in Nanaimo and North Cowichan. 

VIU advancement officer Elspeth Erickson says the key part of this investment is to make sure students can focus on studies without having to worry about obstacles in the way of their academic success. 

“We want to ensure students can access education,” she says. “We see students across the country in need then would be optimal, and it can sometimes present an obstacle to continuing their education. 

“With this investment, we can start to address some of those needs and help students in a very real way.” 

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Erickson adds the investment is expected to last only 18 months, but the university is already looking at student-driven research to make sure support for students is a lasting program.  

“At the centre of what we’re hoping to do is look towards innovative solutions that can be long term and sustainable,” she says. “We want to make sure there are systems in place at all VIU campuses where students have something to address this kind of need.” 

In a media release, VIU says the funding will go towards enhancing two existing initiatives on campus including the Students’ Union’s free breakfast bar and Give-a-meal, and the student access fund. 

President and CEO of Embark Andrew Lo says supporting innovative programs helps enrich the lives of students and gives them the skills they need to thrive. 

“This fund marks our commitment to making the path to post-secondary school easier for Canadians,” he says. “These programs will help todays, and future students, thrive.” 

The money is expected to help fund student-driven research, food security initiatives to meet immediate needs, cross-campus coordination to sustainable solutions for student hunger, and increased access to emergency funding. 

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