Matthew Miller ran for Vice President Student Experience because he wanted to be in a position to advocate for better student access to mental health services, such as counselling. COVID-19 caused a transition to online learning and made the need for mental health services more apparent to everyone. This drove Miller to be more determined to accomplish this goal.
What does the role of the VP Student Experience entail? The elected student executive sits as a voting student representative on BCIT’s Education Council and Decision Review Board to voice the issues and concerns of BCIT students. He works directly with the Housing Councillor as well as the Marine and Annacis Island Satellite Councillors. He also supports the 50+ student-run SA clubs and is Chair of the Clubs Committee. This committee distributes SA funds to clubs, reviews club sanctioning applications, and is administering the fall 2020 Clubs for Community program. Miller enjoys his role working with clubs, and notes that dozens of clubs are tackling the challenge of virtual events head-on with great leadership.
How can students stay engaged during this unprecedented time? BCIT is offering virtual Facebook Hangout sessions this fall which feature a variety of guest speakers and give students an opportunity to connect in an online setting. Miller also recommends dropping into a few online exercise classes hosted by Recreation Services. “And of course, I’m going to make a big mention of our SA clubs!”
“I know first-hand how challenging and immersive studying at BCIT can be, and I sincerely hope that you’re not only successful in your educational journey, but that you also enjoy the time you invest in it,” says Miller. “Your student experience is our priority, and I urge you to discover what the Student Association can do to support you.”
While we add a lot of extracurricular activities on our to-do lists, it’s important to remember to check-in with ourselves and take care of our mental well-being. From his personal experience, Miller has found that in before you can support others you need to be in a calm place yourself. “Once I’ve grounded myself, I can reach out to someone in my life who is struggling in that moment with all the stressors life has put them under.”
“I remember a trusted friend who told me that everyone has their own personal limit of how much support they can provide.” said Miller. “Sometimes, the best thing you can do is compassionately direct the person you care for to a professional.”
Miller hopes students take advantage of the services available to students, regardless of their campus or area of studies. Some Student Association services include Advocacy, Career and Entrepreneurship support, and Health & Wellness services. Importantly, BCIT’s Counselling and Student Development department offers both phone and virtual counselling appointments.
To book a free and confidential BCIT counselling appointment, please call (604) 432-8608.