Big Ideas



Caribou Hair, Fish Scales, Face-Painting and Indigenous Mental Health

Keeta Gladue

Keeta Gladue is the Indigenous Student Program Advisor at the University of Calgary. Her family is from the Sucker Creek Cree Nation and she grew up on a small island off of Vancouver Island called Tlay Maak Tsu, now known as Esperanza, which is in the traditional territory of the Ehattesaht people of the Nuu chah-nulth. She has been working in leadership and engagement for the past 15 years in Canada and England. She has gone from more than 10 years working with youth in leadership and engagement to working at the university, supporting Indigenous student success and intercultural engagement and understanding. An enthusiastic self-proclaimed Indigenous nerd, she is passionate about pop culture, social justice and the power of story. 



The Story of Convergence: The Real Motivation to Support Religious, Secular, and Spiritual Identities on Campus

J. Cody Neilson

J. Cody Nielsen is Founder and Executive Director of Convergence and Multifaith Coordinator at the University of Guelph. Cody previously served as Expert in Residence for Religious, Secular, and Spiritual Initiatives at NASPA. Cody’s passion is the integration of higher education with religious, secular, and spiritual identity diversity work. Cody is a Ph.D. candidate in Higher Education Administration at Iowa State University and holds Master’s degrees in Mental Health Counseling and Divinity. He offers consultation for universities regarding strategic thinking around religious, secular, and spiritual identity. His 2013-2015 study Multifaith in Higher Education, a Louisville Foundation-funded initiative, explores 150 public and private universities in the United States and Canada regarding their policies, practices, and initiatives to support campus climates. He has a five-year-old son, Levi, and tries to stay active as a runner and biker. Pronouns: he/him/his



Not Sad Enough: Personal experiences with persistent depressive disorder

Weston Eckert

Weston is currently a Student Experience Advisor at Centennial College and previously worked in Residence Life at few different universities. With 6 years of experience working directly with the student population, he is no stranger to discussions about mental health, mental illness, and resiliency. It was only recently however, that he took the work he was doing with students and applied it to himself. Not an expert, but just someone who has experienced mental illness; Weston hopes people can gain something meaningful out of sharing his experiences.



Putting the “Well” in Wellness: Integration and Collaboration

Andree Germain

Born and raised in Sudbury, Ontario, Andrée has a long history of engagement in community-based social justice work. She has a joint-honours Bachelor degree in Comparative Development and Geography from Trent University, as well as a Master’s of Social Work from Carleton University.  

Andrée has spent most of her career working in the field of HIV and Hepatitis C prevention, where she has worked to engage marginalized populations in the design and implementation of participatory, community-based research projects aimed at expanding and improving access to health and social service programming for men, women and young people in Ontario who use drugs. Having recently returned to Canada, Andrée is happy to have joined FRAYME – an international knowledge mobilization network – were she is working to gather and share evidence and practice-based knowledge, regarding the local adaptation and implementation of integrated youth service models of care, within secondary and post-secondary contexts.



Recess League Returns: Play even harder, work even better

Cassie Wever

Cassie Wever is the Coordinator of Citizenship & Community Based Learning in the Department of Student Experience at the University of Guelph. In her role, she creates and facilitates thoughtful and intentional social justice focused experiential learning programs. She seeks to integrate wellbeing, play, resilience, and laughter into all aspects of her work. One of the ways she does this is as the unofficial coordinator of Recess League, a completely-for-fun lunch hour intramural sports league for staff, faculty, and graduate students. She thinks you’d probably like to have more laughter and play in your work day, too, wouldn’t you? Yes you, the one with the office job- she’s talking to you- don’t even deny it, you know she’s on to something! When she’s not playing sports games at work and talking about social justice, you’ll find Cassie hiking, biking, camping, playing soccer, reading, growing a garden, cooking, eating chocolate, and spending time with her wonderful partner named Ali and their super fat cat named Merv.



Meaning making: Deepening our understanding of the significance of land acknowledgements

Patty Hambler

Patty Hambler (pronouns she/hers) is a Nehiyaw (Cree) woman, who identifies as an urban, displaced, Indigenous Canadian. Patty is a Student Affairs educator who is passionate about lifelong learning, health promotion, and community building. She currently has the privilege of working and living on the traditional unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people. Within Student Affairs, Patty has worked in a variety of roles over the past twenty years including residence life, student leadership development, peer programs, and health promotion. Patty completed her BA (1996) and PDP (1997) at Simon Fraser University and her Masters of Education (2013) at the University of British Columbia. As a CACUSS member, Patty has participated in the development of the competency model and professional development framework, contributed to the launch of the Spirituality and Religious Pluralism Community of Practice, and served on the Program Committee for the CACUSS conference.