I was reading applications from nursing students whose partners had been laid off or who had lost their own jobs as restaurant servers and lifeguards, and who wouldn’t have enough money for tuition without that work. Students who had immunocompromised family members. Students who were living with assault in their homes and couldn’t leave.
The awards committee of the national Canadian Nursing Students’ Association (CNSA) had 10 bursaries to give out using funds we had planned to spend on conference travel before COVID-19 hit, but there were so many tragic stories and so much need. It was heart-wrenching.
I knew some of the applicants were from MacEwan because I had students messaging me to ask if I had heard anything about their application. The need wasn’t somewhere else in Canada. It was right here at our own school. In our own faculty. So we decided to take the funds our MacEwan CNSA chapter had raised for conferences and donate it to the university’s COVID-19 Relief Bursary.
We’ve always said that our group is here to support students – that we want the best for them. Over the last few years, we’ve created a student mentorship program, we fundraise so students can go to regional and national meetings and conferences, and we’ve tried to build a community of nursing students who care about each other. We knew that using any extra money we had to support students who are struggling right now was the right thing to do.
Seeing how excited and passionate everyone on the CNSA exec team was about making sure these funds went to people who needed help felt so good – it just flows through you and makes you want to be a better person.
We acknowledge that the land on which we gather in Treaty Six Territory is the traditional gathering place for many Indigenous people. We honour and respect the history, languages, ceremonies and culture of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit who call this territory home.