On June 28, 2023, two weeks after we recorded this episode, the University of Waterloo was confronted by a hate-motivated, violent attack. A professor and two students in the Philosophy 202/Gender and Social Justice 222 course were attacked because they were exploring issues related to society and gender.  

As a community, we stand united against all forms of violence, hatred and bigotry. We are committed to fostering an inclusive, safe and welcoming environment for everyone.  

While it was recorded before the horrific attack on June 28, the topics we explore in this episode are  relevant and vital. Our guest is an alum who found a sense of belonging and self in Waterloo's 2SLGBTQIA+ community. They are an advocate and fierce supporter of gender-inclusive initiatives on our campus and they speak passionately about why these initiatives are important. I hope this episode exemplifies the strong, supportive community we aim to provide at the University of Waterloo. Hate has no place here.  

If you feel impacted by recent events, support is available.

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Sam Spizzirri (BA '19) entered Waterloo's Sexuality, Marriage and Family program looking to prepare for a career in family law. But instead Sam found a supportive community where they could truly be themselves. That community opened new doors, and eventually led them to a career as a support provider and advocate.

After graduation, Sam worked for the  AIDS Committee for Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and Area where their work helped to build health care teams and improve food support. Eventually, they came back to campus to support the community they loved so much as a student. Today, Sam works with an array of student-led programs, including the Glow and Women's Centres.

They join the podcast to talk about how local communities have supported them, and why they pursued a career where they could offer support back.

Show notes

(3:19) Sexuality, Marriage and Family  program offered personal support

(6:50) What led Sam to pursue a career in advocacy?

(10:25) Sam describes the practicum that launched their career

(16:58) Sam shares the story behind a food support program they led

(22:07) Why did Sam return to UWaterloo as a staff member?

(24:05) What initiatives does Sam support with the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA)?

(29:35) Why is advocacy work important? Sam offers advice to students.

Mentioned in this episode

Sexuality, Marriage and Family Studies: Learn about the program in which Sam studied

AIDS Committee of Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo Area (ACCKWA): Learn more about the organization where Sam worked as a student and post-graduation

Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA): Discover the many student-led programs and services that Sam supports today

Glow Centre: Learn more about the oldest continually running, university-based 2SLGBTQIA+ group in Canada

Women's Centre: Find events and programs that provide a supportive environment for all women and trans* folks on campus

Food Support Services: Learn about the programs that support students experiencing food insecurity