The real deal

united way campaign team in front of waterloo signIt may have been the Peace and Conflicts Studies program offered at UWaterloo that brought me to this goose-infested campus to complete my undergraduate degree. But I have stayed and greatly enjoyed my time here largely due to the amazing opportunities that UWaterloo has provided me with to ‘be the change I want to see in the world.’ One of the most important things I’ve learned as a result of all of these interesting, exciting, and meaningful opportunities is that when it comes to making change, nothing can compare to the real deal: experience.

In the fall of 2012 I was chosen to run the United Way campaign on campus for one of my co-op terms. I loved that working the United Way campaign had me interacting with so many great people from departments all across campus. Although I gained diverse experience and made many connections, I think the best thing that this job allowed me to do was be part of the UWaterloo community initiative to give back to the local area. I walked away from that co-op work term feeling so proud of the $238,000 the UWaterloo community raised together. So proud, in fact, that I decided shortly after my work term ended that I just had to do it again for the fall of 2013!

elle in the dominican with young girlI was given an amazing opportunity through the UWaterloo community once more, as I spent my next four month co-op term in the Dominican Republic volunteering with The Esperanza Project which I talk more about on my blog. I learned so much about what it means to give back by taking on this experience; I saw absolute poverty, I understood third world problems, and I also got to experience the big, bright, and beautiful smiles of the kids I interacted with each and every day, kids who had incredibly difficult lives, and suffered hardships I couldn’t fathom. I went into this experience expecting to teach these kids, but they ended up doing most of the teaching.  In this challenging, exciting, difficult and fun four months I learned so much about myself and about the world around me.

When I accepted my offer of admission to UWaterloo, I had no idea that I would go on to run the United Way campaign (twice!), volunteer abroad for four months, or be assigned the meaningful types of projects that would bring to light the many injustices in our world and inspire me to take action by volunteering locally. My experiences thus far as part of the UWaterloo community have been an inspirational and fulfilling part of my life as I continue on my journey of self-discovery. It is a place where I have been given the chance to experience so many different opportunities, and the best part is, I still have two years of amazing opportunities yet to be discovered.  

Was there something that you were involved in during your time here at UWaterloo that you found to be really rewarding? 

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