Heather Mirau began her career at the University of Lethbridge as director of Housing, Food & Conference Services. It was a position that suited her ambitions well – not just professionally, but personally too. Mirau always felt a responsibility to help students succeed, and as the department’s director, she monitored the pulse of the campus population and addressed the needs of residents as they arose.
While Mirau has many memories and stories over her years at the U of L, the plight of one particular student stands out in her mind above the rest. Mirau describes the student as a shy, but friendly young man with a bright mind and positive attitude. By all accounts he had a promising future, but there was one problem: the student was struggling financially – and rather desperately at that.
“Every once in a while I’d buy his lunch to keep him going,” Mirau recalls. “Unfortunately there were a lot of stories on campus like his, and there continues to be today. Financial struggle is a very real issue for a lot of students, and it has ripple effects across the entire university.”
Mirau’s career has advanced over the years and her commitment to student success has grown right along with it. Three years ago she became director of Integrated Planning, a position that gives Mirau the opportunity to serve the needs of students in a much broader way. While her professional contributions have undoubtedly made a difference in countless students’ lives – as she did with the financially struggling resident years ago – Mirau continues to contribute personally to students as well by making ongoing donations to the Supporting Our Students (SOS) fund.
“If you care about students and want to help them succeed, the SOS fund is a great way to do that,” says Mirau. “SOS alleviates some of the financial pressure that many students face, which allows them to focus on their studies and become more engaged in university life. When you contribute to SOS, you become part of a caring community. You help shift the social dynamic on campus and proactively create the kind of university the U of L aims to be.”
Mirau believes that the size of the U of L gives the institution a unique advantage in its ability to become the type of university that attracts students based not only on programming, but also on cultural climate.
“We are a closely knit community. There’s a connective thread that runs throughout the institution,” says Mirau. “We are Alberta’s Destination University and that defines how we support our students.”
SOS offers financial assistance to students in all Faculties and programs at the U of L. Contributors can choose a fund designation for their gifts or leave the allocation to the discretion of the University.
“It brings us together as a caring community and that’s something I really want to be a part of,” says Mirau of SOS. “Everyone who contributes to SOS feels the energy that’s created through the fund, and it grows with every new donation. The positive effects absolutely snowball.”
Join Heather and support our students today.