There is no better time than now to join the Champions of Diversity and Equity (CODE). This specialized training initiative is offered to help MacEwan University students gain tools and develop skills to become leaders, educators and advocates on human rights issues.
The program has had such an impact on one pair of students that they decided to continue their efforts by starting a student group.
After participating in CODE in 2019, Shivani Solanki and Elaine Tran founded the Human Rights, Diversity, and Equity Club at MacEwan (HuRDE).
"CODE interested me because, at the time, I did not have a strong knowledge base in human rights and was excited when presented with an opportunity to learn and engage outside of the classroom, apply knowledge I gained in-class and through lived experience, and meet new people from different communities across MacEwan," recalls Tran, a Bachelor of Arts Honours sociology student.
Both Solanki and Tran recall the impact their experience as CODE volunteers at MacEwan's inaugural Black History Month had on them.
"During the close-out event, we had guests come in to speak about their experiences as Black Canadians," says Solanki, a psychology student in the Bachelor of Science. "Being a part of the initiative that helped provide a space for their stories was inspiring and encouraged me to continue volunteering with CODE."
Are you interested in joining CODE?
CODE training is open to all current MacEwan students: full and part-time, International and exchange, continuing education, English as an additional language and university preparation, and can be added to your co-curricular record.
We're living in historic times — add your voice to the discussion and become a Champion of Diversity and Equity.
Chaudhry says that past CODE participants have come from and transitioned to roles in other MacEwan extracurricular programs like the Ambassadors, MAVEN or Peer Support, to name a few. "We have students from a variety of backgrounds, academic disciplines and lived experiences, and it truly creates a cohesive group structure," he says.
Solanki and Tran are now picking up where they left off at CODE to provide an additional space for students to connect with each other and to have opportunities for collaboration, discussion and engagement, and to further student-led initiatives that promote human rights, diversity and equity.
"Given the current events that have been widely documented and communicated to the public over this last year, we felt that it was necessary to create a student group that values and can promote the concepts of human rights, diversity and equity to other students," says Tran. "We are eager to connect with students who are interested in contributing to a campus culture that shares these values."
"With the current spotlight on racism and racial injustice, specifically anti-Black racism, there is a rise in the population to do something," says Solanki, who has seen an increase in the numbers of students getting involved — many of whom say they were inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.
Solanki and Tran believe that being involved in advocating for human rights, diversity and equity is essential and encourage other MacEwan students to become champions as well.
"I feel more empowered to stand up and advocate for issues involving things like human rights and discrimination," says Solanki. "It's helped me develop my leadership and social networking skills. I've met so many amazing people during the time I volunteered with CODE and made new friends that are just as enthusiastic about promoting equity, diversity and inclusion."
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