Standing Committee on Student Wellbeing

Standing Committee on Student Wellbeing

The Standing Committee as of Spring 2020 is currently on hold. Please check back for updates.

The Standing Committee on Student Wellbeing focuses on non-academic student needs that affect student wellbeing. Its mandate is analyze and identify trends and emerging issues pertaining to student wellbeing and propose actions accordingly.

More precisely, its objectives are to:

  • Address increasing complexity of social wellbeing and health needs
  • Create better linkages between services, faculties and key stakeholders on campus, and promoting synergy between services
  • Strengthen the university’s capacity to prevent issues, raise awareness and respond
  • Spot gaps and service needs, and potentially avoid duplicating efforts
  • Respond to emerging policies, laws, regulations from environmental scans
  • Develop university wide responses and best practices

The Committee began its role as of Winter 2017. It is an advisory body to the Vice President Academic and Provost and the Vice President, Resources.

Students: how to get involved

Do you want to be actively involved in providing input into ways to make a difference for your fellow students? We’re still looking for 6 more students (out of 12 student representatives) with a wide diversity of backgrounds and interest to serve on the Standing Committee on Student Wellbeing.

How to apply: In a brief paragraph (approx. 150 words), tell us why you would like to join this committee and what experience you bring to the table. Be sure to send your paragraph and a copy of your résumé to

Meetings will be held on Friday afternoons, approximately bi-monthly, between 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. As such, please ensure that you are available to participate on Friday afternoons during the 2017-2018 academic year and that your availability is mentioned in your submission. Please note, meetings will be bilingual, so applicants need to be able to understand both French and English.

Terms of reference

For information purposes, you can read the Terms of reference for the Standing Committee on Student Wellbeing (639.77 KB).

Meeting minutes

Minutes will be published online as meetings happen. (Content to come)


Student members

Peter Feige

I am a PhD student in the Cellular and Molecular Medicine program at the Roger Guindon Campus. Over the last two years I have been involved as the student president of my department and have been involved in improving the wellbeing of students at the Roger Guindon Campus. I am currently establishing a new graduate initiative based off the University of Toronto GradMinds, with the intent to represent graduate students across the University of Ottawa and improve graduate mental health. The University of Ottawa GradMinds currently cumulates roughly 20 graduate students from varied departments, faculties and locations across the University of Ottawa with the goal of aggregating information regarding graduate mental health needs, barriers to care and to innovate strategies to improve graduate mental health with the collaboration of GSAED and the administration. Having representation on the Standing Committee on Student Wellbeing is critical for GradMinds success and is an excellent platform to strategize with administration to help students thrive.

Dalia Limor Karol

When I first joined this committee as a first-year medical student, I had started to see some of the challenges in transitioning to medical school and in being a medical student. I want to improve this experience for current and future students and believe that I will be able to do this through the committee. I have always placed an importance on “wellness”. For this reason, I have partaken in medical clowning training and have volunteered as a medical clown at hospitals and a home for disabled adults in Toronto (DANI). I took on this position because I was able to see the difference that medical clowns can make in the well-being of a patient. I hope to use some of the skills that I have acquired though this, such as developing very strong communication skills, to improve the student wellness at the medical school. Additionally, this year, I was paired with a student from the Shanghai School of medicine as part of the “peer support program”. Through this program, myself and my peer in Shanghai, Jason, have been in touch throughout the year. I have been able to see some of the challenges that we both face as well as the joys of medical school that we are able to share. I hope to use these experiences, conversations and insights to improve student wellness through this committee.

Martha Alexandra Vargas Aguirre

I am a Ph.D. student in criminology, and I am a member of GradMinds, here at UOttawa. Intensive (and sometimes very isolating) academic work can affect students’ well-being. After realizing that there is very little awareness amongst students about these topics, I wanted to become part of this committee. I will like to contribute my experiences as a graduate student and help to promote wellness and well-being as an integral component of academic success. Likewise, I hope that my experience as an international student will enrich the objectives of this committee. Considering that a substantial number of students come from different countries, I firmly believe that their experiences are significantly relevant. The pressure of the academic requirements, added to the challenges of being away from home, has a very significant impact on international students, and this can considerably affect academic performance. In this sense, my participation in this committee search to give a real voice to these issues, making them visible.

Members from central/faculties administration


Associate Vice-President, Student and International Affairs

Associate Vice-President, Student Services


Invited Subject Matter Experts (or permanent delegate) – Services and Organisations

Director, Student Academic Success Service

Senior Mental Health Advisor

Manager, SASS – Counselling and Coaching

Director, Protection

Associate Director, UOHS

Manager, Student Experience

Director, Human Rights Office

Academic Integration Advisor, International Office

Representative, Aboriginal Resource Centre or Senior Aboriginal Advisor


Faculty Representatives (4)

Selection process for faculty TBD

Student organizations representatives

 UOSU delegate

GSAED delegate

Subject matter student groups (i.e. Initiative 1 sur 5; Students Against Stigma; Student Athlete Mental Health initiative)

Optional members and others

Invited in an advisory capacity as needed only

Director, Office of Risk Management

Associate Director, Human Resources, Health and Wellness

Director, Centre for Psychological Services

Director, UOMBRI (Brain Mind Research Institute)

Lawyer, Legal Services

Director, Community Life

Director, Sports Services

Director, Housing Service

Other subject matter experts as needed


Coordination and admin support

Executive Assistant and Logistics Coordinator, Office of the AVP, Student and International Affairs

Former student members

Gabrielle Gauthier

My name is Gabrielle. I'm a fourth year student in social work and I will be starting my master's in September. Social work is everywhere in my life: at work, at school, at the places where I volunteer, and in my community. Mental health and wellbeing have always been things I've been passionate about. As a volunteer at the Distress Centre of Ottawa & Region, Shepherds of Good Hope and other places, I am often confronted to people who have overcome or who are overcoming considerable challenges. I myself had to seek help at one point in my university career. Being part of the Committee will allow me to be more involved in a cause that is dear to me, to help the movement move forward, to break the stigma around mental health, and to better support the student community on campus.

Graeme McConnell

The health and wellbeing of students is something that I am very passionate about, especially in the areas of mental health and physical activity. I have experience volunteering and working with a variety of groups including the SFUO Peer Help Centre, the University of Ottawa Mental Health Awareness Society and the Student Athlete Mental Health Initiative. I have also volunteered to help promote Bell Let’s Talk through participating in events and publicly sharing my struggles with mental illness. In the area of physical activity, I am involved with sports services through the varsity cross-country and track teams as both an athlete and assistant coach, and I have previously worked with the intramural program as a soccer referee. I believe that my experience and my connection to a variety of on-campus groups will allow me to contribute a valuable perspective to the Student Wellbeing committee.

Hannah Landry

I am currently enrolled in the Health Sciences program and plan on pursuing a career in health promotion and health policy. I myself have struggled with mental health issues and as such I have extensive knowledge surrounding mental health topics of all kinds and I am extremely well acquainted with the available well-being resources currently available on campus. I also am the current Co-President of the Student-Athlete Mental Health Initiative on campus and play for the varsity women’s soccer team.  With my role of co-president I can offer a network of mental health groups on campus that could serve as a great source of information and expertise. I also hope my role as a varsity athlete will allow the varsity community to be well represented on the committee. There is nothing I am more passionate about then mental health and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve my university and better the campus experience for my fellow students.

Morgan Oda

My goal in life is to change the way people view mental health and improve the lives of those living with mental illness. As someone who has ongoing lived experience with a mental health issue, I am very passionate about improving wellbeing at uOttawa. I believe that there are gaps between SASS and UOHS services, as well as a lack of student engagement which I would like to help fix. I have been a part of the Psychology Students’ Association for the past two years, and will be President of this Association next academic year, providing me with access and insight to a significant portion of the undergraduate student body. Furthermore, I have a lot of experience facilitating discussions on mental-health related topics and with outreach, which will be a great asset to the Standing Committee on Student Wellbeing as it starts up.

Sonja Smydo

The student experience has always been very important to me at the University of Ottawa and it’s why I have been deeply involved in the residence atmosphere. I want every person to be as successful as possible, which to me means more than excelling in academics. As a Community Advisor (CA) in residence, I often see and assist first year students on their journey to success both in university and in life. This gives me a unique perspective into the wants and needs of new students. I have also had the remarkable experience of participating in our exchange program where I spent two semesters in France. This has greatly changed how I interact with others, particularly those who may feel isolated or disconnected. Having this experience has allowed me to really connect with those around me as well as finding resources to help others.

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