Trinity Western University student Kevin Chai created TWU Access Chapters to help alleviate feelings of isolation among his peers. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Trinity Western University student Kevin Chai created TWU Access Chapters to help alleviate feelings of isolation among his peers. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Connection to combat loneliness at Langley’s Trinity Western University

Student from Maple Ridge creates online social network

As an international student who commuted to Langley for his classes, Kevin Chai remembers that his first year at university felt lonely and isolating, with few connections to others outside of the classroom.

“This motivated me to reach out to the community in my second year through joining student leadership,” said Chai, who lives in Maple Ridge.

Now a third year business student at Langley’s Trinity Western University, Chai is determined to make the university experience better for others.

Which is how TWU Access Chapters – a virtual and in-person social network – came to be.

Chai describes TWU Access Chapters as a friendship-building initiative born out of a pandemic year. Social groups called chapters are divided by geographic area, and group members connect on Microsoft Teams and other web platforms.

The idea is to help students make friends with others who live in their locale. In B.C., there are six chapters spanning Fraser Valley to Vancouver. Outside of B.C. there are four chapters covering Canadian and international communities.

READ ALSO: New Langley community garden gets test run this spring at TWU

Chai explains that the program provides TWU students with opportunities to feel a sense of belonging, through virtual events and Zoom study sessions.

Chai himself hosted many virtual events over the past academic year. He listed Among Us game night, Jackbox game night, Super Bowl live stream watch party, and NBA All-Star Weekend live stream watch party among the events he hosted with his chapter teammates.

He also led activities for TWU Intercultural Programs, which helps foster appreciation for different cultural groups at the university.

READ ALSO: TWU woman writes more than 100 pandemic poems with mom during lockdown

When it comes to in-person events, Chai admits that it has been challenging to organize, especially given the changing provincial health restrictions.

“Many times [we] had events planned, locations booked, and even supplies purchased, (but) we had to cancel the event according to the new restrictions posted the night before the event,” he said.

Yet, despite disappointments, Chai still gleaned some good lessons, “This really motivates [us] to be more adaptable and creative regarding future events.”

“It is especially cool to see fellow students living in different places connecting with each other through online events,” he continued, adding, “Although sometimes the turnout isn’t as good as expected, the stories we hear, and connection and relationship built in this program, is incredible.”


Have a story tip? Email: editor@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

LangleyMaple RidgeTrinity Western University

Just Posted

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole spoke to members of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce via a Zoom chat with chamber CEO Colleen Clark on Friday, June 11. (Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Conservative leader talks tourism, trade, SkyTrain with Langley Chamber

The virtual fireside chat included talk about childcare and the budget

Deeba Mostafaie-Mehr, Setare Maleki Rizi, and Olivia Chen Xu from R.E. Mountain Secondary are recipients of three prestigious scholarships. (Langley School District/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley STEM students shine as recipients of prestigious scholarships

Three students from R.E. Mountain Secondary recognized

The new Langley Memorial Hospital emergency room opened for its first patients on Tuesday, May 4. (Government of B.C./Special to the Langley Advance Times)
LETTER: Aldergrove woman underwhelmed with new hospital ER

New ER is nice but needs adequate staffing, local woman writes

Graduation ceremonies will look different for the class of 2021. (Black Press Media files)
Ryan’s Regards: 2021 grads deserve more than a round of applause

Students have had a difficult 15 months, incomparable to most eras other classes graduated into

Each week, we are asking Langley’s elected officials to weigh in on an issue of concern to local residents. They are given a deadline and invited to respond with a maximum 250 words on the matter. This time, each member of Langley Township council was invited to respond to this question.
AT YOUR SERVICE: Langley trustees applaud positives found amid pandemic

Q&A: Members of the local school board given chance to address the community on a key local issue

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

Most Read