Hunter Student Commons
Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

April 21, 2023

Giving Day across campus, Part 2

Help the kelp. Educate beyond the classroom. Provide emergency financial assistance for students

With a vast array of projects and causes to support during UCalgary Giving Day, you'd be hard-pressed to not find at least one fund that’s meaningful to you. Yesterday we looked at funds from Arts, Vet Med and Kinesiology. Today, see what Science, Nursing and Law are up to this Giving Day — and hear from a couple more of your UCalgary colleagues about how and why they give.

But first, let’s check in with alum Dan Allard, BComm’09, to see how his recent adventures at the Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute went:

Power in numbers

Faculty of Nursing

With today’s post-secondary challenges, a single incident like job loss or housing disruption can cause a serious setback to any student’s career path — but for those in nursing, the Power in Numbers Fund can help them get back on their feet and focus on their studies.

The fund, created in 2017, provides emergency financial assistance for expenses such as groceries, household staples and school supplies.

“The Power in Numbers Fund helped me when I had nowhere else to turn for mental-health support that was critical to my success as a student,” says a recent recipient, who asked to remain anonymous. “In nursing, we always talk about how the patients’ basic needs must be met before they are able to truly succeed in their health and wellness journey — and that is exactly what needed to happen for me.”

In the aftermath of the pandemic, Dr. Zahra Shajani, EdD, associate dean (undergraduate practice education), notes that not only has need increased, but the type of assistance requested has also expanded.

“Initially, we decided to just offer grocery-store gift cards to students finding themselves a little short of money at the end of the month,” says Shajani. “But we have had to adapt to changing circumstances for our students and really scrutinize each request on a case-by-case basis.”

Thanks to the generosity of Giving Day donors — many of whom are students themselves — any gift, when combined with other small or large financial gifts, can make a significant impact and may change the life of a student.

power in numbers

Education beyond the classroom

Faculty of Law

Ask Mirabelle Harris-Eze about the Faculty of Law Impact Fund. Invited to the 16th annual Canadian Law Student Conference — hosted by the Windsor Review of Legal and Social Issues in Windsor, Ont., last month — Harris-Eze requested financial aid to help with the travel expenses.

Which she promptly received, courtesy of the faculty’s discretionary fund that supports initiatives enhancing student experience and advancing strategic programs and projects. In this case, the assistance covered flight and hotel costs as well as transportation within Windsor.

“I am incredibly grateful,” says Harris-Eze, a third-year student in the faculty.

One of only two students from Western Canada speaking at the conference, she presented her paper, which was written in professor Brian Calliou’s Residential Schools Litigation course — Indigenous Women v the Carceral State: Why “Indigenizing” Prisons and Modifying Criminal Law Principles Will Never Lead to Transformative Justice — to law students and legal academics.

“As I learned from other students’ presentations and discussed niche legal issues and innovative law reform work taking place in our country, it meant a lot to know that I had my university’s support,” says Harris-Eze. “One of the highlights of the conference was hearing from the Honourable Sheilah Martin, a justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and a former UCalgary Law dean. I really hope that more UCalgary Law students can have the opportunity to attend this conference in the future.”

Faculty of Law Impact Fund

Help the kelp and the kelp will help you

Faculty of Science

Kelp is so much more than a superfood — it does other amazing things, such as providing food and protection for marine species, regulating water temperature, absorbing CO2, and helping to prevent coastal erosion.

However, as much as 95 per cent of the kelp in North America has disappeared over the last seven years. The Kelp Research Support Fund at UCalgary will help advance sea-forest restoration along the west coast, and maybe even help to fund the purchase of an incubator to grow baby kelp.

“The Kelp Rescue Initiative is the first research project under that multi-university umbrella charity where we can dedicate the focus solely to supporting kelp restoration,” says Dr. Sean Rogers, PhD, director of the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre (BMSC) in B.C., and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology in the Department of Biological Sciences in UCalgary's Faculty of Science.

Getting hands-on research experience at the BMSC, students quickly recognize that the areas they work on are global challenges, Rogers says. “By being students at the University of Calgary, a top research university in Canada, they have the opportunity to be champions to solve these problems in that environment.”

And Giving Day donors have the opportunity to “support a research initiative that directly involves undergraduate and graduate students and allows them to contribute to everything from the climate-change challenge to the blue economy,” says Rogers.

‘Why I give’

Christal Loewen, development co-ordinator with the Faculty of Law, is among UCalgary faculty and staff who show their support on Giving Day.

“Doing advancement work gives me a front-row seat to the amazing extracurricular opportunities made possible by philanthropy,” says Loewen.

The university experience can be such a memorable and formative chapter in a person’s life — and this Giving Day I was inspired to help facilitate unique learning (and life) experiences through the law school’s Student Experience Learning Fund.

Likewise, Tania Loftsgard, director of development with the Faculty of Social Work, also supports the faculty for which she fundraises. “I chose to donate to the Jackie Sieppert Excellence Award in Social Innovation, as so many others, to honour the legacy of Dr. Sieppert, who served as dean of the Faculty of Social Work from 2010 to 2020. Supporting purposeful social work graduate students who use innovative tools to solve complex social issues is something I will do for years to come.”

And over on UCalgary’s Foothills Campus, Sybil Choles, senior director of development, invests in the community by investing in her faculty. “The Cumming School of Medicine is at the forefront of medical research,” says Choles. “Their commitment to a healthier Calgary is just one reason I continue to donate every year.”

UCalgary Giving Day is April 27. Whether you support student awards, critical research or any one of UCalgary’s innovative funds, your gift will help change lives and shape the future. All eligible gifts made from April 1-27 will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $2,500 per gift — but only while matching funds last. Make your gift today at

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