When you hear the word advocacy, you usually think of large scale, immediate change. By nature of its definition, advocacy usually involves feelings of grandeur, but also of disbelief and doubt. Advocating literally means trying to make a change that is outside of your immediate control. If you’ve had any sort of involvement with the USC, you know that we advocate for so many things, we might as well have advocacy tattooed on our bodies with how much we use it. So why do we do it?
It’s simple. Advocacy works.
It may not work right away, but that is the beauty of it. The time that it takes from listening to an issue to seeing that issue resolved is unknown, but it’s all part of the process. Advocacy inspires the hope that one day things can get better, and it’s fueled by the effort of those who believe in that hope. It takes an insane level of dedication to see an advocacy initiative come to life.
The reality is, some of the progressive initiatives that the USC is implementing this year were started by student leaders who came 5, 6, 10 years before us. We weren’t around in those early stages, but we are here now to enjoy the changes that these students started.
For the USC, it’s all about leaving the school better than you found it. And I know advocacy works, because I’ve seen it happen through Global Village in 2021.
For years students have called for increased diversity and representation in Orientation for incoming students. We wanted to foster an orientation experience that catered to students from all backgrounds. The problem was, there was no real framework in place to make this happen. Was the answer diversifying the Soph teams? Was the answer having more culturally based programming? No one really knew.
However, one of the best things to come out of those advocacy efforts was Global Village. A large-scale display of culture, on the main stage, for the entirety of the Orientation program to witness. I have never seen such a positive response to a diversified event ever, and I’ve been here for 5 years now.
Maybe I’m biased, given I was able to host that very first Global Village, but that opportunity will remain as the most special event I have ever been a part of at Western.
As your incoming president, I can only wish to finish the advocacy efforts that were started before my time. I can only hope to begin efforts that will impact students years from now. After all, I just need to leave this campus better than how I found it.
The USC advocates not for what is, but for what can be. As a student, you can change the world. Because you, as a student, have that power.