The Student Union Society launched a new initiative to bring important social issues onto campus. The Advanced Leadership Program (ALP) is a series of modules featuring community leaders and experts who will come to UFV to discuss their experiences of issues faced by Canadians.
The goal of the program is to expose students to real life issues and to build empathy for those marginalized in society. It looks to build student leaders who are compassionate, and advocate for positive societal change, according to Sukhi Brar, mentorship and leadership coordinator for SUS.
“Something that I really wanted to do with this program was to get students to challenge their beliefs that people in Canada are treated equally, and that we all have equality of opportunity,” Brar said.
Each module is structured as a one hour presentation by the speaker, followed by a 30 minute Q&A period, and a 30 minute reflection period. The structure looks to generate open and respectful discussions amongst the students and the presenter about the topic.
“It’s pretty open,” Brar said. “People can ask uncomfortable questions, and I’ve worked to bring speakers that are open to that.”
Last Thursday’s presenter, Kamal Dhillon, spoke on her experience of surviving 12 years of domestic abuse, and why she remained in the relationship.
“It was really gritty,” Brar said. “I think everyone found it difficult to hear her story, but she was really great, and open to any questions people had, like ‘why did you stay,’ and ‘why didn’t you reach out?’”
Brar said student turnout for the module was great, with around 80 students attending the presentation. Students who attend for the full two hours receive a co-curricular transcript, which outlines the competencies and learning outcomes received through the module.
Two more modules are scheduled for this winter. Jolene Greyeyes will speak on addiction, racial discrimination, and understanding intergenerational trauma on Thursday, March 8, and Laura Tribe will speak on net neutrality and “open media” advocaters on Wednesday, March 21.
More modules will likely be planned for the fall, said Brar.