Post-Secondary Student Services welcomed students to annual Open Houses this month, in an effort to connect them with one another and the supports offered, as well as to give them some reminders of 'home.'
At the Montreal Open House on September 6, 2019, traditional moose meat was served to the dozen attendees who came with their families.
Open Houses are held annually in each region supported by the Cree School Board's Post-Secondary Student Services - Montreal, North Bay, and Ottawa/Gatineau. It provides an opportunity for sponsored students to connect with one another, and for Post-Secondary Student Services staff to connect with the students.
Director General Abraham Jolly says that the administration supports about 400 students in universities and colleges around the country. Montreal has 70 registered Cree students.
"We encourage our young people to dream of bigger futures and we support them to pursue those dreams," he adds.
Student Affairs Technician Darryl Diamond says one of the leading issues students face is an academic adjustment. Post-Secondary Student Services offers financial support for students who wish academic tutoring.
He said students also say it is a big adjustment when they move away from their family and community supports to a new academic and social environment. Supports are available online through the student portal and by email. PSSS staff also visit students on campus and financially support activities arranged by the Cree student association.
"We are seeing students continue into university upon graduating college," Diamond adds. "This is telling us that our young Cree adults are adjusting to campus life, and setting their goals high."
An Open House was held for North Bay-area students on September 12. For the first time, it was held on campus, and attendance was the highest yet - 23.
Gatineau's Open House on September 13 provided another opportunity for students to learn about services they can access and to simply gather, enjoy some moose meat, and discuss current events.