To the CBU Community,
I hope you are safe and well after Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Cape Breton and the Atlantic Provinces. As you know, the community has sustained devastating damage and many are still without power, including CBU. While the community pulls together in recovery, and to care for one another, I wanted to reach out to let you know that CBU is committed to supporting those in need, and is currently working on a plan to do so.
As you may have seen on social media, CBU students have stepped up to help all members of our community, making meals and cleaning trees and debris off the streets. Many of these students do not have the power of their own. We are inspired by this act of kindness and selflessness and we have established the CBU Hurricane Fiona Relief Fund. If you are in a position to give, we would like to offer you the opportunity to donate through Canada Helps. This fund will support students as the recovery continues. More information will be provided soon on the details of accessing that fund.
I want to thank each of you for your patience, your kindness, and your perseverance. There are countless examples of CBU community members stepping up to help each other in this time of need. We are aware of the Sukhmani Sahib Society, one shining example, working together to feed hundreds of fellow Capers and we are in awe of you. This type of generosity is exactly what makes our CBU community so special. Thank you.
I would like to send sincere appreciation to the Cape Breton University Students’ Union. They have provided raw food to Ammy’s Takeout, a certified restaurant in downtown Sydney, who graciously offered to prepare food for students. The CBUSU then delivered food personally to those affected and continues to work with other community organizations to prepare and deliver food to students in need. Your leadership is exceptional in these trying times.
We are fortunate that our residence buildings sustained only minor damage. While CBU remains without power, a dedicated team of CBU employees have stepped up to ensure students living there are being cared for. Harriss Hall, which is operating via an emergency power source, will remain open from 7:30am-8:00pm daily with heat, lights and a power source for those living there to charge electronic devices.
With assistance from the Canadian Red Cross, and our partners and colleagues at the Cape Breton Language Centre and the Canadian Coast Guard College, we’ve also been able to provide emergency accommodations to roughly 45 students who have been displaced from their homes, some with their families. I want to thank the CBU response team who has gone above and beyond to ensure these students are cared for.
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES
As you try to understand the impact of the current situation and begin to process this event, please remember you have access to 24/7 mental health support. CBU’s partners at LifeWorks have opened a community support line for anyone in need of professional emotional support and/or referral to community resources. The LifeWorks Community Support Line is available to anyone in Canada and is open 24/7 by calling 1-844-751-2133.
Students also have access to Healthy Minds NS, CBU’s primary online mental health support program and keep.meSAFE’s Student Support Program (SSP), providing international students with 24/7 access to mental health support. keep.meSAFE can be accessed by calling 1-844-451-9700 or by visiting myssp.app/keepmesafe.
CBU will remain closed until power is restored. When CBU is prepared to re-open, you will be notified via CBU Alert, CBU’s emergency mass notification system. Please also keep an eye on CBU’s official Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. In the meantime, should you need to charge devices or access warm beverages, please visit a community comfort centre as long as you can get there safely.
I am so proud of the response of CBU employees, students and how Capers continue to step up for their community. As always, I ask that you continue to support each other in this time of need and proceed with kindness. Check on your family, friends and neighbours, and stay safe and well. We will get through this and be stronger than ever.
Yours very truly,
David C. Dingwall
President and Vice-Chancellor