Monday, 7 November 2011

A Glendon Club Spotlight: WUSC

One of the great things, among many, about Glendon is our sense of community and how easy it is to get involved. Despite our small size, the amount of clubs and organizations available to join are extensive.

In this post, I thought I would spotlight one of our fantastic organizations, WUSC. Current president of the Glendon chapter of WUSC, Andrea Cordoba answered some questions about the organization, their objectives, and why it is so important for Glendon students to get involved.

Laura Stanley - What is WUSC? 

Andrea Cordoba - “WUSC stands for the World University Service of Canada. They are an organization based in Ottawa who work through committees on various campuses across Canada. It’s a great way for post-secondary students to get involved in real NGO work on campus while they’re doing their degree. Their main philosophy is that, “Education changes the world.” When I first joined, I thought that was very hard hitting especially being a student myself and knowing that to advance in this world, you have to have certain basics in education." 

LS - What are some of their major campaigns happening right now across universities? 

AC - “There are a few campaigns that WUSC does in general, and committees on a yearly basis pick and choose the ones that they want to participate in. Yesterday (October 31st), we did the "Buy into Change" event which was a reverse Trick or Treating event to support the purchasing of ethical products, Fair Trade products. What we did on campus was we had free Fair Trade chocolate that we were giving out and educating people on ethical buying and teaching people what they, as consumers, can do to bring about economic change. Our belief at WUSC is that you invest in people not in Bay Street or Wall Street.”  

LS - Here at Glendon, what have been some of your past events/initiatives?

AC - “One of their major campaigns is the student refugee program and I think that’s what a lot of people associate WUSC with. What they do is a committee at a university sponsors a student, or how ever many students they are able to, from a refugee camp in Sub-Saharan Africa. We sponsor them to come over, they are fully funded for their education for a year, their residence, their meal plan, and their tuition so it’s a lot of money that goes into it. That’s been the main one we’ve been doing because it takes a lot of funds to sponsor a student. It’s approximately twenty-five thousand dollars a year. Right now, because we are waiting on funds to accumulate, we’re doing campaigning for the "other side of WUSC," that’s what we’re calling it this year, and just increasing our notoriety on campus."

LS - What is currently your main project?

AC - “One of our main projects right now is to hold a referendum vote in March.Whether they know it or not, students at Glendon are paying into our committee. It’s not our committee that you’re paying into, it’s the sponsorship of a student because all of the money gets put towards that. As it stands right now, every student who’s enrolled at Glendon is paying 10 cents a credit. If it’s a full course load, you are paying three dollars a year. I know that people aren’t really on board with increasing how much they have to pay on a yearly basis to their institution but if you think about it, three dollars is the cost of two coffees. You just have to do a real world comparison to show that it’s not that much money. What we’re asking is to increase that levee amount from 10 cents a credit to 16 cents a credit and that way Glendon can sponsor more frequently. As it stands, we’re sponsoring every three years. There’s a process that you have to go through before you even can get on the vote. Basically, we have to get a ten percent support of the student population at Glendon. What we were doing this past month was collecting signatures from people and students across Glendon and asking them to the vote in March.”

LS - What are some upcoming events students can look forward to?

AC - “I’m in the process of putting together a conference meeting here at Glendon. What I want to try and do, for the sake of my committee but as well as for the people who are interested in WUSC but can't be involved because of meeting times, is a video conference call with someone from the head office in Ottawa and give my committee an onsite training session to tell them about WUSC and the history etc. Of course, my committee is going to be there to witness that but we want to invite the student population to come by to hear more about WUSC."

Hopefully next semester, we’re probably going to take part in the "Shine a Light" campaign. "Shine a Light" is another one of WUSC’s major campaigns. As it stands, in Sub-Saharan Africa, girls are being outnumbered in the classroom. Girls in these countries are expected to do field work and chore work in the day time so they can’t attend classes when they’re normally held. The "Shine a Light" campaign is to provide solar lamps to girls who want to continue their education but can only do so by night. "Shine a Light" will provide them with solar lamps and they can study by night. It’s kind of a mundane thing, like something so simple as a lamp to read by night, but these are privileges that they don’t have access to. The campaign has three phrases and right now they’ve accomplished their first phase which was to raise enough money to provide three hundred solar lamps. Right now, what they’re working on is to build after school programs that will provide space for these women who do want to study. The third phase is to provide scholarships so they can go to colleges and universities outside of their area, or within their area, because as we all know, education does cost a lot of money. It’s a campaign that we all agreed was important and it peaked our interest.”

LS - Why do you think it is important for Glendon students to get involved?

AC - “I think it’s particularly important for Glendon students to get involved because we are the Liberal Arts campus and these are real world issues. I myself come from a family of refugees and a lot of our committee members were refugees. I’m not sure if people are aware of this but we have The Centre for Refugee Studies which is one of the largest Refugee Studies Centres in Canada. We just feel that the student population needs to be in support of us and so does the YorkU administration and that’s why we are trying to get that referendum report. Students can give more. I know they give a lot as it already is but this is towards something that has a real life benefit. I was helping our student last year who came in and you see it happening. A lot of committees I find, talk the talk but they don’t walk the walk. WUSC is actually on campus, we have our student here, you see the results.” 

LS - How can students get involved? 

AC - “Signing the referendum and making it out to vote in March. We may get majority support in the vote but if we don’t meet forum, which is at least a certain percentage of students coming out to the vote, then it doesn’t pass. Like us on Facebook. You can visit which is the main website and they can attend meetings if they like or contact me and help volunteer at events."

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