Wellness journeys and stories that culminate in Student Affairs professionals from across the country at the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services (CACUSS) Annual Conference. Find more about CACUSS’s annual conference at at cacuss.ca/conference/index

In 2015, 6 Student Affairs professionals travelled via an RV from Toronto to Vancouver and in 2017 16+ cycled from Toronto to Ottawa.

Timeline

2015

Overview

What happens when you put six Student Affairs professionals into one recreational vehicle and send them across two countries, three provinces, seven states and six universities?

The experience of travelling to a professional conference is routine and uneventful – you print or download an itinerary, hop on a plane/train/bus and that’s it. You use the journey to catch up on work, entertainment or sleep, with the understanding that the learning will take place once you’ve reached your destination. But who says the journey itself can’t be a learning opportunity?

Six Student Affairs professionals from Ryerson University decided to switch things up on their journey to the annual Canadian Association of College and University Student Services (CACUSS) conference this year. What began jokingly as a conversation between two friends about taking a road trip – and cutting costs in the process – snowballed into conversation about transition (using the metaphor of the road). And in true Student Affairs fashion, we thought about the multiple scenarios we’d encounter on the road and how we’d tackle them as Student Affairs professionals: roommate agreements, team building activities, reflection exercises etc. We pitched the burgeoning idea to our then Executive Director of Student Affairs, John Austin, who encouraged us to build it out and offset the costs with sponsorship. And before we knew it, #RoadToCACUSS was born – a reflective journey of personal and professional development.

Participants

Brandon Smith • Kait Taylor Asquini • Nick Asquini • Troy Murray • Hamza Khan • Jen Gonzales

Supporters

The Banff Centre • CACUSS • Coca-Cola • Go RVing Canada • In Their Shoes Project • Jack.org • Kind Snacks • Michigan State University • Neal Brothers • Northwestern University • Ryerson Eats • Ryerson Rams • #RyersonSA • Ryerson Undergraduate Admissions and Recruitment • University of British Columbia Okanagan • University of Calgary • University of Notre Dame

2017

Overview

#RoadtoCACUSS 2017 took a team to our nation’s capital by cycling approximately 475 km from Toronto to Ottawa from June 4-8, 2017.

#RoadtoCACUSS 2017 was a wellness journey that culminated in Student Affairs Professionals cycling from Toronto to Ottawa. The bike trip began on June 4th but the journey really began long before that as participants trained, prepared and geared up for the adventure.  The trip will ended on June 8th, approximately 475 km from where it began and lead into the annual conference for CACUSS (Canadian Association of College and University Student Services).

Mental illness impacts everyone. As Student Affairs professionals, we see first hand the need to engage in discussions and programming related to enhancing student well-being on our campuses. That’s why we rode, and we teamed up with Jack.org for their fundraising efforts.

The goal for this iteration of #RoadtoCACUSS was to raise funds and awareness for student mental health initiatives on our campuses across the country. Mental well-being continues to have a significant impact on our students, and our roles as student affairs professionals, across all functional areas of Student Affairs. The commitment riders made to our own well-being by training for and completing this long-distance ride brought attention and further awareness to this cause.

The team cycled approximately 475 km from Toronto to Ottawa from June 4-8, 2017 and raised $40K for Jack.org.

Participants

Brandon Smith • Cassie Anton • Cathy Nguyen • Ian Crookshank • Ian Ingles • Jen Gonzales • Kait Taylor-Asquini • Laura Girz • Troy Murray • Lauren Goodman • Mark Atia • Rachel Barreca • Rick Ezekiel • Samantha DeBoer • Sarah Thompson • Allan Macdonald • John Austin

The Cause

About Jack.org
For a generation of young people raised on the internet, social media, and text messaging, the traditional approach to mental health awareness and stigma reduction just isn’t working. It’s time to think outside the box. Jack.org is the only national network of young leaders transforming the way we think about mental health. With initiatives and programs designed for young people, by young people, we will end stigma in our generation. Jack.org’s core programs include a network of 120 student chapters on campuses across the country, a speakers bureau with 50 talented youth presenters who give talks at school assemblies and other events, and a national and regional summit program which brings students from across Canada together to develop innovative strategies for improving the mental health of their communities.

To learn more about Jack.org’s youth mental health programs, visit www.jack.org.

Reflections on the Ride

Positive Psychologist Dr. Martin Seligman’s PERMA-V model of well-being was used to ground this experience. PERMA-V represents Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishment and Vitality. Throughout training and the rest of the experience, participants considered the ways in which the building blocks of PERMA-V could be used to inform their practice, and transform a current professional/personal challenge they are experiencing. The team reflected on these themes and more in their blogs, as posted below. You can learn more about PERMA-V here.

Blogs

RoadToCACUSS can take many shapes. Join the conversation and share what your #RoadToCACUSS looks like each year as the Student Affairs community in Canada gathers at the National Conference for the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services. Learn more about the conference and CACUSS by visiting CACUSS’ website.