It’s safe to say that 2020 is not off to the best start.
Flooding has devastated parts of Indonesia, killing 66 people in the capital city, Jakarta. Puerto Rico has been hit by a swarm of earthquakes in recent weeks. All the while, the island is still reeling from Hurricane Maria which hit in September 2017. Wildfires have ravaged Australia with no end in sight. And Iranian-Canadians are still mourning the loss of family and friends aboard doomed Flight PS752.
The impact of these tragedies has been felt around the world and Sheridan is no exception. At Sheridan, 19 students are from Iran, 11 are from Indonesia, and one is from Australia. That total makes up only a fraction of Sheridan’s international student population. Still, many more have likely been impacted by these tragic events.
Sheridan College President and Vice Chancellor, Dr. Janet Morrison, and Vice President of Inclusive Communities, Dr. Jane Ngobia, said the goal was to support members of the Sheridan community in any way they could.
Recently, Dr. Morrison and Dr. Ngobia sent out an email to the Sheridan community concerning the tragedies. Sheridan’s chief communications officer, Christine Szustaczek, also helped draft the email. Dr. Morrison’s reasoning behind drafting the email is clear.
“We wanted people to feel heard and we wanted to express empathy, and so, the three of us drafted it and sent it out,” said Dr. Morrison.
Dr. Ngobia said the response to the email has been positive.
“I’ve gotten feedback from communities, and they say: ‘Thank you, we are glad to know that the Sheridan administration cares about our feelings’,” Dr. Ngobia said in an interview.
Another way the college offered support was by sending out an email on Wednesday to the Sheridan community, particularly about Flight PS752.
Wednesday’s email invited Sheridan staff and students to observe a moment of silence to remember the victims of the fateful flight. Sheridan did not hold a formal ceremony on any of the three campuses but left it to the discretion of staff to choose if they wanted to hold a moment of silence or not. The Sheridan Sun TV broadcast opened with a moment of silence Wednesday.
Universities across the country also held moments of silence to honour crash victims. Paul Davidson, President and CEO of Universities Canada, told CBC News that “virtually every campus” took part.
Dr. Ngobia summed it up the best.
“Our community is global, so if people are not directly affected, they are impacted.”Dr. Jane Ngobia, Vice President of Inclusive Communities, Sheridan College
If you or anyone you know at Sheridan has been impacted or affected by the tragedies happening in the world, there are support systems available. Sheridan employees have access to in-person counsellors and can use the campus’ 24/7 phone support system. Students can make in-person appointments with counsellors and can use the 24/7 student helpline Good 2 Talk at 1-866-925-5454.