Community and good grades for the win
Maia Bacchus is the 2021 Student Affairs Participation Award winner
When Maia Bacchus first started getting involved in her community, she had no idea where it would eventually lead her. Fast forward to 2021, and Maia is a dedicated coach, community leader and this year’s recipient of the Student Affairs Participation Award. The award, established in 1992, honours a student who has maintained high academic achievement while demonstrating exceptional leadership qualities, making a significant voluntary contribution to the University and/or broader community.
Bacchus’s community involvement started when she became a competitive fencer in middle school. Her passion for the sport led her to coaching a program for lower-income families, and that’s where her dedication to community began.
“Seeing how much these kids enjoyed and flourished within this program was such a rewarding experience,” says Bacchus, a third-year political studies student. “From there, I just started looking for more ways to get involved and how I could use my own experiences and privilege to give back.”
Through fencing, Bacchus has introduced the sport to new Canadians and also helped adapt it for individuals in wheelchairs, so they can participate. She is also involved with Anti-Racism in Sport, an initiative where athletes, coaches and others who are members of communities that are victims of racism and prejudice, speak to students across the province. The goal is to promote diversity, unlearn prejudice and foster open-mindedness and kindness within sport.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Bacchus is her ability to be so involved in the community while maintaining a sparkling GPA. She credits the support of her professors and her love for political studies for enabling her to succeed.
“It is a bit tough sometimes to balance it all but having great professors like Dr. Kulick and Dr. Rounce, who nominated me for this award, and the other people in my life who support me is such a huge help,” says Bacchus. “Studying what you love also helps make the courses seem like less work.”
The future is bright for Maia Bacchus who will enter the last year of her undergraduate degree this fall at UM. She hopes to further her studies in the Faculty of Law at UM and earn a Juris Doctor. But she won’t stop there.
“Afterwards, my goal is to work for a global organization such as the United Nations or a non-governmental organization in hopes of working with families and individuals fleeing war, dangerous conditions and climate change,” says Bacchus.
Bacchus received the Student Affairs Participation Award on June 16 in a virtual ceremony.