We are the Guelph Resource Centre for Gender Empowerment and Diversity, or GRCGED for short. We had our beginnings in 1982 as the Women’s Resource Centre, and held a prominent place on the University of Guelph campus. Since then, we have continued to offer space, services, information and solidarity to people experiencing personal and academic crises on campus and in the larger community. In 2007 we changed our name to reflect our values our center was more than just a space for women-identified people and also to reflect the intersectionality of our work.
We provide service to the diverse University of Guelph community through structured and unstructured peer and other types of support. GRCGED fosters mental health and provides a place where talking about mental health or disabilities is not stigmatized, and where survivors of trauma are believed and supported. GRCGED has recently added Academic Support as a new focus for the centre as there have been requests for workshops and skill building that expand on what is already provided by the University.
GRCGED also offers peer support and one-on-one assistance that students access in addition to other mental health supports on campus. We offer a fully accessible space where students can access drop-in hours or schedule something more formally. Students often remark about how comfortable they are in our space and that they feel very welcome here. Having our space and workers to come to provides a release for many students to be able to vent about group work, course stress, relationship issues, family conflict, work problems – either job seeking or what their rights at work are, and to process problematic and/or oppressive comments that might come up in class. We actively listen to what is going on in people’s lives and offer support if they need help navigating the services available at the university. Safety and comfort of students are paramount for us. We support many trans people looking for accessible health services, and pregnant people in need of non-judgemental and confidential support and resources.
In order to provide all these services, our staff and volunteers are trained in active listening and peer support. Our permanent staff members are also trained in ASIST and other suicide diversion techniques, mental health first aid, nonviolent communication, sexual violence prevention such as Sexual Violence Upstander Intervention training, overdose prevention and reversal and bridges out of poverty. Our volunteers enrich our services by putting into practice their diverse academic knowledge, lived experience and skills to support students coming into GRCGED when in distress.
So please, come by our space and chat with our great staff, take a book from our extensive library, or just enjoy chilling on our comfortable couches!