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It's okay to disagree

May 15, 2020 | Society

When Kassidy Green graduated from MacEwan University’s Social Work diploma program in 2017, she shared what it meant to her to go through big challenges together as a community of students and faculty members. Three years and one degree later (she graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work in 2019), Kassidy is continuing to help to shape the university community as a member of the new Alumni Advisory Council.

“In the four years I spent at MacEwan, I met some of my best friends – people I really consider to be family – and connected with mentors who continue to support and guide me,” she says. “All of this goes to show how important the MacEwan community is to me. I wanted to find a way to hold myself accountable to staying connected to a school that gave me so much.” 

Q. What’s your most vivid MacEwan memory?

I remember walking into a class in my first year of the Social Work diploma and one of the professors saying, “Put your hand up if you’ve ever been told you are too sensitive.” A majority of students put their hands up, but I did not. I wondered, should I just get up and leave? I remember how uncomfortable I felt, thinking that the concept of sensitivity was a prerequisite to being a good social worker. In hindsight, that discomfort was a sign that I had some work to do, and MacEwan allowed me the time and space to do that.

That memory also reminds me of how easy it can be to make generalizations about social work as a profession for people who are “too sensitive” or “soft-hearted.” While there certainly isn’t anything wrong with those qualities, holding that view can make it easy to dismiss the fact that most social workers I know carry incredible burdens with immense strength, are exceptionally resilient and are fierce advocates for society’s most vulnerable.  

Q. What are you doing now?

I’m currently the corporate and donor partnership lead at Boyle Street Community Services. Although not a traditional social work role, I engage in macro-level social work every day – in building relationships with partners that contribute to our financial sustainability, I have conversations about the stigma surrounding poverty and homelessness, educate about harm reduction and inform people of ways that they can make a difference.

Representing Boyle Street Community Services’ values while having direct contact with the folks our organization supports is incredibly rewarding. I am so grateful to work at a place that aligns with what I stand for not just as a professional, but as a person.

Q. The first line of your bio introduces your passion for civil discourse. What drives that?

Civil discourse is how we learn to better understand each other, and grow to build stronger, more inclusive communities. I think that our current societal and political contexts often make it easier to stay divided – to shake our heads, shut down and become defensive. But that does a big disservice to us all.

I work hard – in my friend groups, with my family and in my professional capacity – to create spaces where we can disagree without being disrespectful. Civil discourse isn’t about glossing over tough issues, it's about ensuring that we talk about difficult subjects and make time to see another perspective in a nuanced way, putting compassion and humanity first. We can learn from each other, and hopefully see that we all have more in common than we think.
 

Q. What do you hope to accomplish as a member of the Alumni Advisory Council?

I hope to ensure that more Faculty of Health and Community Studies alumni are able to find ways to continue engaging with MacEwan – whether they graduated last year or 40 years ago. There is so much opportunity for stewardship, sponsorship and mentorship that would be incredibly valuable for current and future MacEwan students. 

IMGLR_AlumniAdvisoryCouncil2020

New Alumni Advisory Council represents MacEwan University's 75,000 graduates

Alumni have gone on to become passionate community members, industry leaders and game changers.




 
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