Anouk Borris. PC: Vancouver Island University

During this time of global crisis, the VIU Students’ Union (VIUSU) has contributed a leadership gift of $75,000,  now matched by the VIU Foundation, to establish a $250,000 fund for Emergency Student Bursaries in effort to support vulnerable students affected by COVID-19. VIU chairperson Anouk Borris is hoping community members will join the students’ union in donating if they are able to.

While they may not be attending face-to-face classes, students at Vancouver Island University are still working hard to complete their education. However, during this unprecedented situation, students are also dealing with the very real consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, including reduced hours or terminated employment, securing child daycare, and keeping themselves and their families safe and healthy with limited resources.

“On top of the emotional impacts of this crisis, we know our most vulnerable students are struggling with some serious financial issues, including reduced or non-existent job opportunities, which many relied on to make rent or put food on the table. We want to be there for them in their time of need,” says James Bowen, VIUSU Executive Director. “While it’s uncertain times for everyone, we hope that our gift will encourage others in the community to join us in supporting students.”

A gift to the Emergency Bursary Fund will help students cover the basic necessities for living so they can continue with their studies. The fund can be accessed by both domestic and international students. To make it easier for donors, VIU has launched a new crowdfunding platform called AIM Together (Access. Innovate. Matter. Together.) For more information, or to make a donation please visit the Emergency Bursaries Fundraising webpage or contact (Every little bit counts!)

“This is a stressful time for everyone as we all struggle to come to grips with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic; unfortunately, many of our students have the added burden of dealing with unbudgeted housing, healthcare, and daycare costs,” says William Litchfield, Executive Director of the VIU Foundation. “Many of their regular employment options are cutting hours or laying them off. We understand this is a difficult time for all, but unfortunately more difficult for some. We would like those who have the ability to help to consider making a gift to support those struggling in our community.”

Students who are experiencing immediate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 situation can email with a request to access the emergency bursary funds. Students are asked to include their name, student number, and reason for need.


Arts Editor Erinn Sturgeon is a fourth-year creative writing and English student at Vancouver Island University.

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