Campus Awards Archive
Outstanding Contribution to the SRP
McGill University WUSC Local Committee
In early 2021, the McGill University WUSC Local Committee worked hard to do an online referendum campaign for the continuation and increase of their undergraduate student levy. They successfully doubled their levy from $2.00 to $4.00 per student per semester. This allowed their Local Committee to increase the number of SRP students they are able to welcome each year from three to five.
In 2021, this Local Committee also revised their longstanding Memorandum of Agreement (est. 1986) with the university. After many meetings with the Dean and members of the university’s administration, wherein their co-chairs, executive members, past Local Committee members, and SRP alumni worked together to explain the importance of WUSC and the SRP, they were able to come to agreements to receive more human resource support from the university. In practice, this will include the establishment of a WUSC Advisory Council to help coordinate support between the university and the Local Committee; more direct support from the Dean of Students, including providing academic support to WUSC SRP students; and a part-time paid position at the university dedicated to supporting the SRP at McGill. The Local Committee is hopeful that this additional support will be beneficial in future years as there should be a smoother process from applications process, to finding first-year residences, to helping SRP students get the support they need, and more. This will also allow their Local Committee to focus more on creating a welcoming environment and planning more events for SRP students and Local Committee members!
Additionally, they were able to organize their resources and commit to welcoming two Afghan SRP students in the fall 2022, with financial support from the university.
In 2021, the McGill WUSC Local Committee really improved and strengthened their support to the SRP both in quantity and in quality!
Event of the Year
University of Toronto Student's Union / New College WUSC Local Committee
On February 23, 2021, University of Toronto Student's Union / New College WUSC Local Committee hosted a free film screening of “Salam Neighbor.”
This award-winning 2015 documentary about the Syrian refugee crisis was screened to highlight the importance of equity and equality among neighbors and create an open dialogue towards creating more inclusive communities for all of us.
One of the film’s directors, Chris Temple, participated in the event in an exclusive live Q&A following the film where participants had the opportunity to learn about their experience in the Syrian refugee camp.
Another guest speaker at this event was Frank Palmay from Lifeline Syria who joined to give insight into the Syrian refugee crisis and share their experience in assisting sponsor groups welcome and resettle Syrian refugees here in Canada since 2015.
Honourable mention: Unversité Laval WUSC Local Committee
On September 19th, the WUSC Local Committee at Université Laval celebrated 20 years of the Student Refugee Program (SRP) at University Laval in style. Bringing together former and new SRP students, as well as Local Committee members, professors and students, the event gave the Local Committee a chance to shine, reconnect, and take stock of the progress and accomplishments of the Local Committee since its inception. Despite the many health restrictions in place, organizers were able to create a successful and highly rewarding event. A morning of hybrid panels (i.e. with the option of attending online or face-to-face) on migration issues ended with very positive feedback from those who attended. The guest speakers were: Ms. Denise Otis - Head of Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Montreal, Ms. Roxane Caron - Associate Professor of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences - School of Social Work of the Université de Montréal and Ms. Marie-Jeanne Blain - Associate Professor of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences - Department of Anthropology of the Université de Montréal. An afternoon of games, networking activities and alumni testimonials followed with music, laughter and the smell of delicious BBQ. It was also a great way to spread the word about the WUSC Local Committee throughout the community through the curious people who stopped by.
Local Committee on the Rise
University of the Fraser Valley WUSC Local Committee
This Local Committee deserves the Local Committee on the Rise Award because of the tireless efforts they have put towards establishing their WUSC Local Committee on their campus and working to ensure its sustainability.
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) WUSC Local Committee was established in 2018, and since then they have been able to implement a $2 levy on all student tuition. They ran a referendum and successfully implemented a levy in March 2020, despite the challenges of campaigning online due to COVID. They have been able to sponsor two SRP students so far. They will sponsor two SRP students simultaneously next fall for the first time, thanks to a generous donation of $12,500 from their Student Union Society.
They have established an official partnership with their University of the Fraser Valley's Student Union Society. They have been featured in multiple articles in their school's newspaper The Cascade.
The UFV Local Committee recently became members of a Community of Practice for the Refugee Crisis at the University of the Fraser Valley, where along with professors and other community members, they are involved in organizing events, research, and other awareness raising activities. This Local Committee has been able to engage students at their university through events and partnerships, despite it being a commuter university with lower rates of engagement. They also established an academic placement for students on their campus to earn course credit through their work with WUSC.
They are currently working to create a sustainable plan to increase the SRP on their campus and sponsor two SRP students every year, rather than one. They are also working on growing their Local Committee and further integrating it into their university to ensure its sustainability after their current members graduate.
This Local Committee has been putting so much effort, energy and passion into building their Committee, raising their visibility and implementing the SRP on their campus. What they have been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time is impressive, and we know it is only the beginning!
Outstanding Commitment to Public Engagement
Ontario Tech University WUSC Local Committee
The Ontario Tech University (OTU) WUSC Local Committee engages with the university community on an ongoing basis through their social media and their monthly newsletters for General Members. Throughout the years, they have been achieving upward momentum on public engagement through social media, particularly on their Instagram page. They currently have over 1400 followers, making Ontario Tech University WUSC Local Committee the most followed club at the university!
When COVID-19 restrictions caused many events to shift to online platforms, OTU got creative. In place of an in person game night, they hosted a virtual game night, where 45 attendees from the university community entered into a draw for a prize. The theme of this game night was centered around the challenges faced by people impacted by forced migration. Attendees played a virtual simulation game created by the Brothers Across Borders organization that walked them through the life of a Syrian refugee in Turkey. After the simulation game was played, attendees played a Kahoot quiz game to test their knowledge of displaced peoples, refugees, and stateless people.
The “Let’s Talk About The Hashtag” podcast series has been the most significant ongoing contribution of the Ontario Tech Local Committee since September of 2020. The objective of this podcast is to bring awareness to the context behind current hashtags used on social media sites to highlight contemporary global issues and the work that WUSC does.
For each podcast episode, a guest speaker with knowledge and a personal connection to the topic being discussed is interviewed. The first podcast episode of 2021 was centered around the theme of the #LebanonExplosion. A survivor of the tragic Lebanon blast that occured in August of 2020 was interviewed about her experience surviving the blast and the programs that WUSC provides to support vulnerable groups in Lebanon, such as women and young refugees. For the most recent special edition episode, with the theme of #SaveSouthSudan, OTU focused on the work that WUSC does in South Sudan and specifically the new Refugee Athlete Stream of the Student Refugee Program. We invited Rose Nathike, a current SRP student who competed in the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, to speak about her experiences as a refugee in Kenya and how the SRP positively impacted her life. On average, they get about 65 listens per episode, with their most popular episode (about the #blackivesmatter hashtag) having 152 listens.
This Local Committee’s creativity and adaptability in reinventing public engagement in a pandemic context is inspiring!