Q&A with Annika from EWB McMaster Chapter

Hi I am Annika! I am a chapter member at the McMaster University EWB Chapter and I am also a new member of the Community Distributive Team (DT). Being a part of the DT has really opened my eyes to the potential of our chapters and motivates me to take on bigger responsibilities to really impact the world we live in! I answered some questions so you can get to know me better and understand why EWB is important to me!

EWB McMaster Chapter at National Conference

EWB McMaster Chapter at National Conference

What does being an EWB Community Member mean to you?

Being a EWB community member means that I’m connected to a much larger group of open-minded, honest, willing-to-be-vulnerable human beings who are committed to enacting change in Canadian and global society.

In your opinion, why is having this community important?

This community is important in fostering leadership skills in Canadian youth and providing a space for community, outside of academics.

What do you want to say to EWB Alumni?

Thank you for the laying the groundwork to build such a beautiful community of individuals!

What would you like to say to our supporters?

EWB encourages its members to think critically, to address root causes to systemic global issues, and to make an impact in their local and global communities. EWB provides a space for leaders to grow and truly understand themselves. Investing in EWB is investing in youth leadership.

Why is continuing this support important? 

With the pandemic and disconnection from some university supports, maintaining the EWB community is crucial. As an engaged university student, I look to EWB as a group to encourage my creativity outside the classroom and to create a space where I can communicate and learn from passionate colleagues. The EWB community has served as a way for me to stay connected with others, as we feel more isolated during the pandemic.

Why did you join EWB? 

I joined because of the people. I met some of the McMaster chapter members at a crucial point in my university career and I’ve found EWBers to be some of the most genuine, open-minded, and kind people. They’ve also encouraged me to be critical of Canadian and global issues. The chapter is a great space for me, outside of academics to connect with others.

What were some of the activities your chapter participated in before COVID-19? 

Our chapter has participated in a lot of different activities. Some of these activities include 

Exec meetings, a yearly McMaster conference focused on combining engineering with another topic, National Conference, Run to End Poverty, socials at a local restaurant, sustainability education, elementary/high school youth tutoring/mentorship, fundraising initiatives! The list goes on – we are a group that likes to be busy and have impact with what we do!

How has COVID-19 affected you and your chapter?

Covid has made it much harder to recruit new members and stay connected with the existing team. Many members have moved back in with family and have additional family priorities that make it difficult to connect with their fellow chapter members as often as they did during the school year. We have been planning virtual game nights as a collective to try and bridge that gap. As a DT member we want our entire community to be supported as we all navigate this difficult time together.

What has your chapter done to adjust to the virtual world?

As we adjusted we elected our new executive team right at the start of the pandemic, to ensure we had our “ducks in a row” before everyone moved back home and would have additional priorities. This has helped to maintain the stability of our chapter. It is wonderful to be part of such a caring chapter and while it is harder now to connect I know that my Chapter is behind me 100%.

What is your stand-out favourite moment with EWB?

I don’t think I could name one specific favourite moment with EWB. MOST of my favourite moments at university have actually been with my EWB family. If I had to choose one moment, it would probably be having a very deep, honest conversation with one of the older members of my chapter at National conference. During her time with the chapter, this other member acted like a mentor to me and I will be forever grateful for that.  Many of my other favourite memories with the chapter were also deep, intimate conversations with different members. Something I have found to be so unique to the EWB culture!

What have you learned from your time as an EWB Member and why is that important to you?

I’ve learned to be more open-minded to other people’s experiences and learned to appreciate (even more) the diversity of experiences individuals have. I’ve learned that I can take bits and pieces from someone’s experiences and apply it to my own life/perspective/experiences. I think remaining open-minded and accepting of diversity is especially important as the world moves towards a more interconnected society. Additionally, with wicked problems like climate change, it is important that society embraces and seeks out all perspectives to build the best solution.

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