Humber FYE launched its bi-weekly Sip and Chill cafe

Jan 29, 2024 | Culture, Life

Humber’s North campus welcomes more than 19,000 new full-time students each year, and some students are feeling the added stress of deadlines and exams.

To help, the First-Year Experience with help from Humber’s Office of Dean of Students launched a bi-weekly event on Wednesdays as a way for students to get away and relax.

Gurkeerat Kaur, a senior peer mentor, said the cafe’s concept is to create an environment where students can take a break.

“It’s a great way for students to create a network and have support systems, so they know they can always come here to the student life office if they ever need help,” she said.

Kaur said even though the First-Year Experience holds the event, it’s a space for any student.

“It’s very important. Whether you’re a first or fourth year, it’s always necessary to build connections since it does help you not only as a student but even after you move on and graduate.” she said.

Gurkeerat Kaur, with her colleague, is waiting to serve coffee and tea.

Gurkeerat Kaur, with her colleague, is waiting to serve coffee and tea. Photo credit: FYE/Tannaz Barati

The BioMed Central research shows that 45.1 per cent of post-secondary students experience higher than average stress levels, and up to 35 per cent meet diagnostic criteria for at least one mental health disorder.

Mental health professionals suggest socialising and having a safe space improves students’ individual development.

Abubakar Saifuddin, a Senior Peer mentor at the FYE office, said students need to care for their mental health as much as their education.

“We noticed that students often don’t have a space to connect and see each other. Most times, it’s like coming to class, and then you’re heading home.” he said.

The event is held on the North campus in the E140 office. It is a place to make connections or have a quick snack.

Saifuddin said the lounge is more inclusive, especially for mature students who feel like they don’t belong.

“It can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a mature student in this new environment created for maybe a younger audience. So that’s basically the thought process of sip and chill,” he said.

“We’re glad we’re able to see mature students come in and have a feel for being within their peers,” Saifuddin said.

The one-hour cafe might not be contained in one room as the launch hosted more than expected students.

Saifuddin said he was surprised by how many students showed up.

“I didn’t expect many people, but I’m glad people came out in droves, And it’s good to see students connect with each other,” he said.

Kaur said as a leader seeing students laugh and socialize meant a lot to her.

“It’s a good experience. You’re not just meeting people; you’re also able to connect with people with similar aspirations.” she said.

Emily Counti, a student who attended, said this was a great experience for her.

“I want to socialize with my peers during this hectic semester. I want to present myself socially as much as possible, and that’s what I got to do here,” she said.

Counti said it was easy to present herself to new friends.

Students gathered around the table, doing work and chatting with one another at the new sip-and-chill lounge.

Students gathered around the table, doing work and chatting with one another at the new Sip-and-Chill Cafe lounge. Photo credit: Hawi Tulu

“I want to build a connection with the Humber community.I expected to find friendly people and be my true, authentic self,” she said.

The event brought out mentors’ connection skills as well as students.

Saifuddin said it’s a different experience when people feel safe and express themselves.

“As a leader, it also made me understand the realities of different people and their perspectives, and I hope to see more people and connect with them. Not only that, I will also be able to share my experience with them.” he said.

The biweekly event happens every Wednesday from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.and is perfect for meeting new people, eating snacks, and relaxing.

To access and save a spot, students can sign up online on the FYE page.