The Agents of Change division raises awareness and education on discrimination and oppression on campus while hosting programs and activities to amplify the voices of all students belonging to equity seeking groups at Brescia. While working closely with Brescia's Special Advisor to President, Diversity and Inclusion, Lissette Ochoa, three student executives, Hannah Hodder; Nivedita Varagunan, and Birabwa Serumaga look at addressing important issues affecting marginalized populations in order to create a more inclusive environment.
On July 23, 2020, Agents of Change hosted a Check Your Privilege workshop focused on checking and reflecting our privileges. Participants were given an opportunity to learn about privilege, then proceed to check themselves in terms of racial privilege in their lives. This workshop will be held once a year and the invitation will extend to our whole campus community.
The Agents of Change division and its programs is a safe space for learning, raising
awareness and initiating solutions in order to build a more equitable world.
Hannah Hodder is a third-year student at Brescia studying in the Criminal Justice program.
Over the past few months and in light of recent events around the world, Hannah has been a strong advocate on police brutality and human rights among the Black community. Hannah notes, “I have been dedicating my time in my community to help better our understandings on systematic racism and organized a peaceful protest to help raise awareness.” Read about her work within the Black community here.
Hannah decided to become one of the leads for Brescia’s Agents of Change because “it focuses on creating safe spaces for students to have conversations about anti-racism initiatives and addresses issues pertaining to marginalized groups.”
This year, Hannah will be given the chance to connect with the Brescia community by engaging them to participate in the Agents of Change’s offerings. These may include activities like education centred around anti-racism and barriers that minority groups may face.
Nivedita “Nivi” Varagunan
Nivi Varagunan is going into her second year at Brescia in the Foods and Nutrition program.
Having not grown up in a diverse community has driven Nivi’s passion for racial equality and diversity. When Nivi came to Brescia, she made a commitment to herself to build up courage to use her voice and make a positive change to increase diversity in her community. In her first year, Nivi joined Student Council which “helped with my confidence because I was given opportunities to have my voice heard and be in a position where I could make active change.”
Because of the recent events surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement, Nivi realized she needed to help. This is why she was honoured to become one of the leads for Brescia’s Agents of Change. She feels it is so important to create leadership opportunities for diverse individuals as well as create a safe space for diverse individuals.
Nivi was proud of her idea to hold the recent Check Your Privilege workshop because it opened up conversations among students. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing: “The workshop was a bit rocky as there were some offensive or sensitive aspects that were not taken into consideration, but we are not going to let this discourage us from hosting future sessions.” The Agents of Change leads are going to use the feedback and suggestions from attendees to further enhance this learning experience for others in the future.
Nivi shares, “I am excited to have a part in the future of Brescia and work towards an inclusive and diverse environment for everyone!”