Q&A with Jana from EWB University of New Brunswick Chapter
Hi EWBers my name is Jana and I am a member of the University of New Brunswick EWB Chapter for four years now. I am currently the Kumvana Director for my chapter but have also served as Vice President Fair Trade, Co-President of the Chapter and I completed a Junior Fellowship. Today I am here to tell you what being an EWB member means to me and why your support is important.
Why did you join EWB?
I joined EWB because I was looking for a way to become involved at University while making a positive impact in my community and the world around me.
What were some of the activities your chapter participated in before COVID-19?
Before COVID-19 (and during!!), our chapter hosted weekly community learning sessions to provide learning opportunities on subjects such as impact investing, access to potable water, the Fair Trade movement, social enterprises, and much more!
How has COVID-19 affected you and your chapter?
COVID-19 affected our ability to have in-person weekly meetings and events, but we were able to continue meetings online using Microsoft Teams until the end of the school year. Over the summer months, our chapter is always split up around the world and country for work terms, so it has not affected our summertime operations. This fall will be a learning curve as we tackle online events and engagement beyond weekly meetings and bonding! I know our Chapter will continue to think of new and innovative ways to engage with the work that is so important to us!
What has your chapter done to adjust to the virtual world?
Being connected as a chapter is very important to us! In order to continue our connection, our chapter continued to host weekly community learning sessions led by members. After the school year finished, we continued having weekly gatherings to play online board games, puzzles, watch shows, and chat to keep morale up and ensure everyone had a community to connect with during the lockdown.
What is your stand-out favourite moment with EWB?
My stand-out favourite moment with EWB was our first meeting of the year in 2019. It was my first meeting as a co-President, so I was particularly nervous, but the turn out at the first meeting was the most our chapter had seen! Also, past EWB presidents from our chapter came out to support myself and my co-President. It was heart-warming to see the huge support not only for the mission and goals of EWB as an organization, but also the strong community of people that the organization brings together!
What do you want to say to EWB Alumni?
I want to say ‘thank you’ to my Chapter Alumni because they have taught me what it means to be a leader, what it means to care, what it means to put others first while taking care of yourself, and what it means to challenge myself to think systemically.
What would you like to say to those who support the community?
Another ‘thank you’! Because, without the support of donors and volunteers, the work that EWB does would not be possible and without a purpose, none of the valuable networking, sharing, conversations, etc. would be possible.
Why is continuing this support important?
It is important for people to continue their support because members find value in their time at EWB which is greater than any value from other parts of their academic careers. From a like-minded community to learning to be a better leader, more mindful, and organize events, the skills and friendships built at EWB are designed to create a better world.
What have you learned from your time as an EWB Member and why is that important to you?
I have learned how to be an effective leader as an EWB member. Catering to a diverse group of people with so many different backgrounds and identities has taught me to be sensitive with the language that I use and the way that I present myself as a leader.
What does being an EWB Community Member mean to you?
Being an EWB Community Member is a whole lifestyle. It really isn’t just about a weekly meeting or getting involved in events. It’s about adapting the way I live my whole life to be in line with the values that I have come to adopt through my participation in EWB.
In your opinion, why is having this community important?
Having this community is important to me because it is through this community that I have met some of my best friends at university. It gives me space to connect with like-minded people who are also passionate about doing good in the world in a systemic way. This kind of interaction is not something that I feel I get from just attending classes at university, but are interactions which have proven valuable in my degree, work pursuits, social life, and personal life.