WUSC Leadership Conference 2011

On August 19, 20 and 21st two of our WUSC Regina members had the amazing opportunity to go to Ottawa to meet with other WUSC local committees for the annual Uniterra WUSC Leadership Conference.  Throughout the conference the attendees learnt more about the WUSC network across the country. The committees were also taught in depth information about our current Student Refugee Program and all of the campaigns WUSC supports. The picture below is a group of WUSC local committee students in a workshop trying to help them better prepare their committees back at their local universities and to hopefully inspire excitement, optimism and passion for WUSC.

The WUSC students did not just sit in workshops. We tried to get to know each other and advance our skills through activities. Below is an example of an icebreaker done in the morning to get everyone excited for the day.

At the conference we did want to improve different skill sets to help the committee members when they returned home. The activity below was trying to help us pitch WUSC to different types of people. Many individuals don’t have much time to listen to someone on the street or in a hallway so we needed to learn how to pitch an engaging and interesting WUSC in 30 seconds.

Throughout the conference networks bloomed, excitement grew and the passions for WUSC and the Student Refugee Program were spread. Near the end of our conference the members took part in what was called a “spontaneous action.”  As a group we decided on what type of action we wanted to perform or do in downtown Ottawa. As seen below, excitement built as the members were planning it.

Finally everyone decided we were going to go downtown in the form of a human train and sing about fair trade, in French and English. Of course some of the students handed out information about Fair Trade and talked with people downtown instead of singing with the train. We couldn’t have picked a better time, the market area in Ottawa was packed with people and it was impossible to not notice us. Some passerbys wanted to join our train, while others were taking pictures, and many people stopped and talked with our students who were giving out information. Below is a glimpse of part of our group in the downtown Ottawa area informing others about Fair Trade.

Afterwards the group was still so full of excitement as a group picture was taken.

The WUSC Annual Conference was worth going to for all committee members because it reminded all the students that even one person can make a difference. When our local committee brings over refugee students it not only helps the one student but it can provide a ripple effect. That student now has the chance to help their family, either by sending over money or trying to bring their family over to Canada. Many student refugees who have been brought over have gone into fields which can then help their country, especially after receiving their degree. The conference also helped to build a momentum which local committees will use to their advantage to help both the student refugees and by fundraising for WUSC campaigns. The WUSC Regina chapter is fundraising for the Shine a Light Campaign this fall which will help girls in refugee camps go to school and be able to keep their learning as they get older. Conferences such as the recent one in Ottawa will continue to help local committees learn their potential and hopefully make the world a better place.

Jessica Mitten-Moore

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