An event for advocates
Anita Rajkumar and Helia Karami, Contributors
The Advocacy Student Advisory Group at St. Michael’s College is a newborn organization committed to creating a platform for student voices and to establish support for issues that are important to St. Mike’s. The committee’s first event, the Advocacy High Tea, occurred on October 16. The panel event focused on introducing students to the field of advocacy and how they can be an advocate within the university community. The group was privileged to welcome Rayan Awad Alim from the U of T Student Union and U of T’s Black Student Association as well as Mathis Cleuziou, a climate justice activist at U of T. The speakers discussed their passion for advocacy as well as the challenges that they have faced in their journey to becoming an advocate.
Rayan Awad Alim’s passion for advocacy stemmed from the Black Lives Matter movement and the death of George Floyd. These influenced her toward advocacy within the Black Student Association as well as student government, with a particular focus on advocating for students of colour and ensuring their representation and respect at U of T. For Mathis Cleuziou, his spark for climate advocacy was born out of growing up surrounded by nature during his formative years on Borneo and Australia’s coral coast, influencing his activist work on campus in encouraging the university and federated colleges to divest from fossil fuel investments and advocate for fossil-free research policy.
Students had the opportunity to chat with the speakers following the panel event to learn more about their interests and ask questions. The event was overall a great success and a wonderful start for this new student organization.
The Advocacy Student Advisory Group will be continuing its work in facilitating discourse regarding issues of concerns that impact not only members of the St. Mike’s community but also the university at large. The group is committed to raising concerns about the various challenges students face. The Advocacy High Tea event has embodied that spirit, and the committee will continue to do so with their upcoming International Women’s Day festival occurring in March with a focus on the work of women in ecology and the environment.
If you’re interested in writing for the advocacy column in The Mike regarding an issue that requires advocacy, please reach out to the group’s social media on Instagram, @smcadvocacy.