Written by

Hansika Khokhar


BIDE’s Wellness Lounge: A Place to Heal, Relax, and Recharge

Published On: Fri, Mar 31st, 2023, 5:44AMLast Updated: Fri, Mar 31st, 2023, 6:00AM4.1 min read
By Published On: Fri, Mar 31st, 2023, 5:44AMLast Updated: Fri, Mar 31st, 2023, 6:00AM4.1 min read

(image, left-right: Cindy Nguyen, Oriel Kalambayi, Aya El-Hashemi)

BIDE recently launched a new wellness lounge in Dillon Hall.  

“We are happy to launch our wellness lounge and care cabinet through our Belonging Pillar. We wanted to create a safe space for students to have fun and feel welcomed. We also have a care cabinet that is stocked up with essentials like stationery supplies, chargers, and care supplies,” says Oriel Kalambayi, pillar leader at Belonging at BIDE. 

The lounge is in room 252, 2nd floor, on the left end of the building. The lounge was opened on 23rd March, at noon by the members of the BIDE and is now open to all. 

The Belonging, Inclusivity, Diversity, and Equity Initiative (BIDE) is a new addition to the Office of Student Experience that is student-led and provides support to students coming from marginalized and minority communities. It gives them the space and voice on campus. 

No sign-ups are required for accessing these facilities and coming to the lounge. It is on a first-come basis.  

“We host office hours through BIDE in which two members of the team are available for a 2-hour time frame to assist students with any questions or provide help when they require some privacy to talk about their concerns. These office hours were earlier hosted in CAW room 117 and now will be moved to the Wellness lounge. The operating time for the lounge will be 10:00 am-4:00 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday,” says Aya El-Hashemi, BIDE executive director for communications and outreach.  

“Shift to the Wellness lounge will meet the dual aspect where the room will be monitored to ensure safety and security as well as provide support to students during that time frame,” adds Aya. 

The design process for this lounge was started a year ago by Kalambayi which was aided by the Belonging student support Mia Diciocco. “The goal was to make this space feel like home as well as help students be productive while working here,” said Kalambayi.

Cindy Nguyen is the director of the BIDE belonging pillar. She was involved in the design and layout of the space. “I wanted to include indigenous artwork to ensure the inclusivity of the history and its importance. I also wanted to include little spaces for students to display their artwork or quotes to express themselves,” said Nguyen.


Cynthia is an indigenous artist who was invited to the opening of the lounge. She provided a few art pieces as a contribution from the indigenous community.  

(image left-right: Oriel Kalambayi, Cindy Nguyen, Cynthia)

Kalambayi also informed us that another wellness lounge shall be opening soon in the Human Kinetics building under BIDE’S Belonging pillar. “We are hoping to expand the options of wellness spaces for students across campus so there are more options available. The Wellness lounge in the Human Kinetics building is an ongoing project on which we will work in the summer, and it will be in the lobby of the building,” says Kalambayi. 

BIDE is working to expand these projects to the downtown campus as well to meet the requirements of all students. “Although the HK building is our primary focus for now, we do want to introduce some projects in the downtown campus soon,” said Aya.  

Following the opening of the wellness lounge, BIDE also hosted the speaker series on March 23rd on the downtown campus as part of EDID Week. This was a part of the Annual Speaker Series event.  

Sarah Mushtaq was the first speaker. She is the Director, Equity, Inclusion, Diversity, and Anti-Racism (EIDAR) at Windsor Regional Hospital.  

Irene Moore Davis was the second speaker of the evening. She is the President, of the Essex County Black Historical Research Society and Co-founder of Black Women of Forward Action. She is an educator, historian, and activist.  

“We recognize that everyone has a story, a voice, and their interpretation of the pillars of BIDE that they have implemented in their everyday lives. We want to provide a medium for them to reach out further to inspire other people,” says Aya while explaining the main idea behind the series.  

Kalambayi says, “we would like to thank the previous BIDE team to have laid such a strong foundation. We came in and implemented this plan as a group to just do what’s best for the students.” 

The next project for BIDE is to install new menstrual dispensers in every washroom on campus and refill those with menstrual hygiene products that can be accessed anytime. 

“We are currently in the process of buying these dispensers with the help of funds received from the Graduate Student Society. This project will be up and running in Fall 2023,” said Aya. 

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About Hansika Khokhar

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