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Students supporting students

by Krista Habermehl, MA'05 | June 27, 2017

Faculty of Health Sciences Students’ Council recently created two student awards in memory of Andrea Christidis, a first-year student who was struck and killed by a drunk driver while walking on campus in 2015.

When the Faculty of Health Sciences Students’ Council (FHSSC) was faced with the loss of one of its own two years ago, its first course of action was to support fellow students with mental-health and grief counselling.

The council’s next step, taken this spring, continued that support by establishing two new student awards, both in recognition of fellow Health Sciences student Andrea Christidis.

On Thanksgiving weekend 2015, Christidis lost her life when a vehicle driven by an impaired driver struck and killed the first-year student as she walked on campus.

“It’s situations like this, ones that affect the student body, where we’re supposed to rally together and come up with a solution or something we can do to help,” said Salem Mokennen, FHSSC Vice-President (Finance) and a fourth-year Health Sciences student. “As a council, it’s not just about us running events, but looking out for one another.”

Created by $20,000 from the FHSSC’s Student Opportunity Fund — comprised of annual $100 donations from the student body – the gift provides two $2,000 awards each school year for the next five years.

The Andrea Christidis Memorial Entrance Award is presented to a full-time undergraduate student entering first year in the Faculty of Health Sciences; the Andrea Christidis Memorial Upper-Year Award is presented to a full-time undergraduate Health Sciences student in second, third or fourth year. Both awards are based on financial need.

“This was a good opportunity to remember a fallen student and address financial need in our faculty — a perfect way to increase student opportunities,” said Riley Garno, FHSSC President and third-year Health Sciences student. “Andrea was a positive force in everyone’s life. There’s no better way, from a financial standpoint, than to keep that positivity going by helping relieve some of the anxiety and stress that comes with the crippling financial debt some students face when attending university.”

In addition to the gift, FHSSC hopes to preserve Christidis’ memory by working with university Senate to make the physical layout of campus safer for all students.

“We want to honour Andrea’s memory, but we also want to make sure something like this never happens again,” Garno said. “These awards will be a reminder that it did happen and we need to do something about it, to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

This article appeared in the Summer 2017 edition of Impact Western
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