In an effort to support and inspire their peers, University of Saskatchewan students have teamed up with Station 20 West to produce animated videos exploring the lived experiences they face as core students.
The animated videos are a part of a project from the U of S Community Outreach and Engagement Office that details the daily struggles of a student who is navigating life in the inner city, at university and at home. In the videos, students discuss the impact of Station 20 West’s services on their lives, including the assistance the organization has provided with education and university admission.
Tania Guertin, a student in her last term of social work through the University of Regina, describes the purpose of the video project and why she felt it was important to share her story.
“One of our project goals is to cultivate empathy on campus, especially around the barriers that student-mothers experience, and all of us really wanted to show our friends and family what community supports are available and how to use them,” Guertin said, in an email to the Sheaf.
Station 20 West is a organization that works in the downtown core neighbourhood to provide various resources to the community, such as housing and employment, as well as assistance in the areas of food, health and family.
Likewise, the U of S Community Outreach and Engagement Office — a branch of Station 20 West — supports the west side core community, ensuring that there is an opportunity for prospective students to pursue university education and for current students to access learning resources.
Lisa Durocher-Bouvier, a second-year student in the Indian Teacher Education Program in the College of Education, explains the goals of Station 20 West for the Saskatoon core.
“The organizations at Station 20 West want to help people succeed, whether it’s through school, parenting, finding a job or home, or having access to good healthy food. I really hope that more people utilize their services,” Durocher-Bouvier said, in an email to the Sheaf.
Durocher-Bouvier also works as an undergraduate student assistant for the Community Outreach and Engagement Office, promoting services to the community and compiling a list of tips for research students to use when working for community organizations. She explains that the office will host Thursday night library research help sessions at Station 20 West, from Feb. 16 until the end of March, featuring a librarian who will help students access scholarly resources.
The office has currently released one animated video online: “Angel Shingoose,” titled after the highlighted student and narrated by Shingoose herself. Guertin has recently helped create a similar video about her own life, but it has not yet been posted online.
Guertin explains that Lise Kossick-Kouri, community navigator at the Community Outreach and Engagement Office, nurtured this project because she believed it would be influential to show the positive aspects of being a mother and student in the core.
“[Kossick-Kouri] thought an animation would be the best way to capture all the complexities and competing responsibilities that mothers who are students, like Angel and I, face but also succeed at on a daily basis,” Guertin said.
In the released video, Shingoose narrates that although she has faced difficulties as a student-mother, she feels that she can be a positive role model for her community.
Guertin states that her experience working on the animation project was very positive, challenging her to see herself and those around her differently.
“I deeply value and feel invested in the project’s message. I’ve gained a strong sense of empowerment through deep and meaningful self-reflection. Also, I want those who are unaware of their oppressive actions to understand how deeply they impact people, families and communities and how much power they have. Being a part of this project has also taught me about my own privileges and how I may be oppressive to others and how I can continue to change my own thoughts and actions toward justice and empathy.”
Graphic: Lesia Karalash / Graphics Editor