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Two women in winter gear standing on a glacier smiling at the camera.

2024 Faculty of Arts graduates Christine Yasay and Tracy Karuhogo. Credit: C. Yasay

Invested in making a better UM for everyone

Faculty of Arts graduates share a passion for advocacy and service

June 4, 2024 — 

When speaking to Tracy Karuhogo [BA/2024] and Christine Yasay [BA (Hons)/2024], they quickly say they are each other’s rock. From the women’s and gender studies courses they took, to volunteering with the Women’s Centre, to packing a one-two punch as President and Vice-President Student Life with the University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU), these Faculty of Arts graduates have supported each other through course work, advocacy, event planning, and more.

This spring, Karuhogo will graduate with a general degree majoring in psychology and Yasay will graduate with an honours degree in Criminology. Both have completed a minor in women’s and gender studies.

From creating community programming to advocacy initiatives to educational workshops, the graduates have felt the impact of their involvement on themselves and others. For example, during their degree, they worked together on period poverty issues and helped to make free menstrual products available to UM community members. Two notable events these graduates had the opportunity to organize together focused on the inclusion and celebration of individuals and cultures. The 2023 Magnificent Women’s Awards Gala from the UMSU Women’s Centre was held in-person for the first time and celebrated hardworking and talented self-identifying women for their accomplishments at UM. The 2024 UMSU Cosmopolitan showcased the diverse cultures that make up the UM community through performances, artists, vendors and a fashion show. “I’ve learned so much about teamwork and organization,” said Yasay. “Student involvement has invigorated my passion for continuing to help others.”

With four of the past five UMSU Presidents being Faculty of Arts students and many more contributing in executive and student representative roles each year, we asked the grads why they think so many Arts students pursue involvement in student government. Karuhogo mentioned the influence of friendships “it is like a cycle that as long as new friends are made, those in existing roles convince others to join too.” Both mentioned the influence of their studies. “Arts students stem from many specialized majors, so they bring diverse perspectives and expertise making student governance even better,” said Karuhogo. Yasay added “Arts programs encourage students to think critically and to engage with various perspectives. Arts students bring creative problem-solving and a strong passion for advocacy which is essential to the challenges of service.”

As these accomplished women move to the next stage in their lives, what final words do they have to say about each other? “Even though some days were really long and hard, others were amazing and great. We always had each other as a support system,” said Karuhogo. “It is going to be weird to not see and work with Tracy every day. I will miss the unconditional support and encouragement we give each other,” said Yasay. She continued, “as a woman of colour, it’s important to surround yourself with empowering women, and Tracy is a force to be reckoned with.” We’d say that after all of their experiences and accomplishments during their undergraduate degrees, both women will be powerful forces wherever they may go.


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