Cap activism in action

My passion for advocacy and my desire to get involved has led me down many different roads, from the red soils of Africa to fundraising dinners in downtown Vancouver, and two years ago, to the Global Stewardship program at Capilano University. It was here at Capilano that I fully began to appreciate the different causes so many students and professors alike are involved with, and how their own desire to get involved has shaped their life. Whether you realize it or not, Capilano is filled with people who are passionate about all sorts of different issues, and beyond simply calling themselves passionate, they are actively working to make a difference.

One can call to mind the efforts of Nigel Amon, an Economics professor at Cap, to support the BC Guide Dog Services, a non-profit organization that is improving the chances for blind and disabled people all throughout British Columbia. James Haiga, a past graduate of Capilano University, went on to work internationally for Engineers without Borders, an organization which designs and constructs incredibly valuable projects in developing countries. The efforts of a current Capilano student, CSU representative for Environmental Issues Matthew Bakker, are also worthy of notice. He succeeded in advocating for Capilano to participate in the GoBeyond campaign last year, a teach-in that enabled students to look at what they could personally do to help the environment. All of these stories sound out a remarkable message – people in our community are not only stating that they care about big issues affecting our world, but they are willing to get out there and make a difference.

From the time I was 16, I realized there was something that I felt incredibly passionate about, something that would inspire me to wake up in the morning and be the driving force behind all that I do in my everyday life. This particular something was my desire to work towards making Africa a better place. My travels led to a refinement of that wish: I’m currently committed to improving the living conditions in Sierra Leone, a tiny country on the West coast of Africa. This dream became a reality that shapes my life, from my choice of University and the decisions I make every day, to the way I try to inspire others. Recently, this dream has motivated me to start up a program in Sierra Leone that provides mentoring and counseling to youth who are dealing with issues such as HIV/AIDS and sexual abuse, counseling that will then enable them to receive a university education and better their own future as well as their country’s possibilities.

Perhaps the most remarkable message about advocacy lies in the purpose behind this column – there are so many people out in the world making a difference that it is about time we take a moment to not only recognize what they are doing, but to really examine what difference it is making to our community and our world as a whole. This column is designed to take a closer look at people, events, and programs in our community that are making a change, whether locally or globally. Hopefully, through the next semester of stories, we will be able to examine advocacy at a deeper level, and perhaps open our eyes even more to what is going on all around us. The world may be in more trouble then ever before, but it also may have more people striving to fix it.

//Krissi Bucholtz


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