WUSC Strives for Equal Access to Education

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The UNB Saint John World University Services of Canada (WUSC) is a student organization on campus whose goal is to support equal access to education and raise awareness about the global refugee crisis.

Averry Aquin-Martin, one of the co-presidents of the committee, explains that the main undertaking for the WUSC committee has been raising money for the Student Refugee Program (SRP). This program facilitates the process of allowing refugees to study in Canada.

“It’s not about charity, it’s about the hope that they will be able to attain a better education here, and go back to their home country and improve the quality of life there,” says Aquin-Martin who is also mindful of some of the negative perceptions that come with this type of goal.
“The group is not trying to personify the “white saviour” complex, the goal for us is just to improve the global situation by allowing for access to education.”

The WUSC committee has already sponsored one refugee student from Jordan, who is currently studying at Saint John College, and hopes to transfer to UNB Saint John in the winter semester.

Last year, through events and sponsorship, the group was able to raise enough money to cover his first year of school as well as travel expenses to come to Canada.

Though some other schools sponsoring students only give them financial support for the first year they are in the country, the Saint John committee takes a different approach, supporting 100% of the costs of first year, 75% of second year, 50% of third year, then 25% for fourth year.

The idea is that, since the new students are permanent residents, once they get settled in Canada, they have access to applying for loans and getting a job to help support themselves.

The group is a great stepping stone for anyone who is passionate about education, especially those who might want to work with an organization such as WUSC after graduation.

“It’s been a really great opportunity to get experiences with different people from across Canada and around the world and has opened up my world lens.” says Aquin-Martin reflecting on the past year.

WUSC is currently consists of a small committed group of about five students, but they are looking to welcome new members both in leadership roles and less-involved roles such assisting at fundraising events.

“We want a stronger local committee, so that it keeps going after the 3rd and 4th year students in the group graduate,” says Aquin-Martin who will be finishing up her education degree in the next few years.

Aquin-Martin explains that WUSC also hopes to expand to host bigger events this year, building on their activity in the past.
“We are planning a big pancake breakfast, as well as a ‘Ballers vs. Scholars’ (professors vs. varsity athletes) basketball game’ and all the funds raised from these events will go towards the SRP program and sponsoring more refugee students to come to Saint John to study.”

Students interested in getting involved should contact Averry Aquin-Martin (averry.martin@unb.ca) or Luke Duffley (luke.duffley@unb.ca) for more information on scheduled meeting times.