Between inflation and loneliness, going back to school is tough for some Alberta students

In Edmonton, University of Alberta Campus Food Bank Director Erin Laura O’Neil noticed that many international students, graduate or not, were coming to get food from the food bank.

He explains that in general, 80 to 100 baskets are given out per week. Last week, however, this number reached 200 baskets. And even during the summer, when the campus food bank was rarely visited, it distributed around 130 baskets a week.

We note that tuition increases and inflation are two factors that cause [étudiants] come to us. But these two things cannot be stopped drastically [à court terme]. »

Quote from Erin Laura O’Neil, Director of the University of Alberta Food Bank

On the University of Calgary side, Student Union President Nicole Schmidt also noticed that students are paying much more for some items of expense, such as housing and food.

Some students are paying up to 25% more in tuition compared to 2019she said. For example, engineering students currently pay up to 60% more in tuition compared to 2019.

She also found that students need more financial assistance during the school year, whether it’s to help with housing costs or to find student jobs.

A site to create a sense of community

If returning to face-to-face meetings can be difficult for many students, the same is true of making new friends at the beginning of the school year. This was noticed by Zack and Samson, two of the administrators of the UofConfessions website.

Anonymity is essential for site administrators, Radio-Canada has agreed to use only their first names. UofConfessions, its administrators assure, is not affiliated with the University of Calgary administration.

UofConfessions, present on Instagram and TikTok, collects anonymous submissions from University of Calgary students. Everyone is free to comment on any topic they want, such as courses or the university, without fear of possible consequences for their reputation.

Zack and Samson explain that the site was reactivated a few months ago so it could be created sense of community at the University of Calgary. They claim that most of the admissions they receive are from students looking for friends.

Many people write confessions expressing that the atmosphere on campus is very lonely and lonely [à quel point] it can be hard to make friendsZack explains. However, every time this type of confession is published, the reaction rate increases [positive] in the comments is very [important].

Nicole Schmidt says some students have felt isolated or lonely since face-to-face classes resumed. His sorority plans to organize activities next semester to try to connect students with different clubs or communities.

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