There are so many people working to make Waterloo a more inclusive place that the Faculty Association’s Equity Committee presented four Equity and Inclusivity Awards this year instead of one.
“We found that we had to break the tradition of selecting only one winner,” said Faculty Association president Bryan Tolson on behalf of Equity Committee chair Weizhen Dong at a reception on April 18. There were simply too many nominees whose “actions have made our community a better place.”
The honourees’ remarks affirmed this sentiment, recognizing the support and contributions of networks of students, staff, and faculty across the University.
“The work I do is only possible because I am surrounded by people who value equity and inclusivity, and live and work consistently with those values,” said award recipient Christine Logel. Logel is an associate professor of Social Development Studies at Renison and champion for marginalized students whose work on social-belonging interventions have had tremendous positive, lasting impacts among women in engineering.
Fourth-year psychology student Sarah Wiley echoed Logel, saying: “There are so many people working in our community to make this a campus where we can all be successful, including my fellow award winners here today.” Wiley was recognized for local, provincial, and national advocacy work in areas including sexual assault prevention and funding for Indigenous students.
Recipients also highlighted the ongoing nature of equity and inclusivity work. Women in Computer Science (WiCS) has contributed to an increase of women in computer science at Waterloo from 11% to 22% over the last 10 years. “This is a remarkable increase,” said Jo Atlee, Professor and Director of WiCS, “but the representation of women in Computer Science is still less than it was in the past, and it is less than it is in many other countries, so there is still work to do.” (Some of this work will be funded by a recently-announced grant from Google!)
Architecture graduate students Samuel Ganton, Amina Lalor and Paniz Moayeri accepted the award for Treaty Lands, Global Stories (TLGS), an initiative that has pushed the School of Architecture to broaden its curriculum to incorporate the contributions of other cultures and worldviews. They, too, acknowledged that this work will be ongoing, noting that “curricula are never finished; they're living, breathing creatures that will forever need tending to.”
Both TLGS members and Wiley spoke about passing the torch to other student leaders. “I hope to have laid some of the groundwork for new activists to continue to shift the tides at the University of Waterloo,” Wiley said. “We must imagine the impossible. We must learn to dream and then fight for that dream. All of us have a part to play in creating a campus, and a world, of peace and equality.”
Diana Parry, VP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Mayor of Waterloo Dave Jaworsky; and MPP Catherine Fife were also present to celebrate the award recipients.