From Alumni With Love: Letters in Residence Program Supports First-Year Students During Exams

Posted: Jan 12, 2024

U of G alumni have come together in a remarkable display of community spirit, setting a record in the Letters in Residence program. This initiative is an annual tradition where alumni submit words of encouragement which are printed on postcards and delivered to 5,000 students across campus residences and beyond. Students read messages from a grad who used to live in their old residence and are inspired by favourite memories and words of encouragement. This year, a staggering 186 grads took a trip down memory lane to connect with current first-years, as they prepared to tackle their first exam season.

Sonja Marchment, BA ‘12, speaks fondly of her time of here at U of G, "I tell people about these kinds of initiatives when they ask about U of G and why I loved my time there so much. It's a place that truly puts community care at its heart. Acts of kindness here are the norm, not the exception."

This program, serving as a bridge between generations of Gryphons, offered more than just advice; it provided a sense of belonging and support that is often crucial during these high times of stress for students.

Echoing this sentiment, Jessie Trupp, B.A.Sc ’19, MAN ’20, shares, "Remembering what it's like to be in first-year, during the first exam season of my undergraduate degree, I know that this time of year can feel lonely, scary and confusing. I hope my words of encouragement can provide some comfort to students, and act as a reminder to always value our health/not sacrifice mental and physical well-being".

Adding to the voices of alumni, a first-year student shared the impact of this initiative, "Receiving the Letters in Residence postcard was really meaningful to me. I didn't know what to expect, but the letter was extremely heartfelt, making me tear up. As a disabled student, constantly struggling, The words of encouragement really meant a lot to me and I felt truly supported, as if they were there with me."

The letters were hand-delivered by the Residence Life staff team and in the University Centre to off-campus students in partnership with the Off Campus University Students Club. Thank you to all the grads who contributed to this initiative. We will continue to accept alumni submissions all year round, so feel free to submit your note here.

This heartwarming tradition strengthens the U of G community, proving once again that we are all #ForeverAGryphon.


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