Volunteer organization wins major award
The World University Service of Canada (WUSC) is an international development organization that works with post-secondary institutions, private-sector partners and volunteers to provide education, employment and empowerment opportunities to youth in Canada and around the world.
Their initiatives include having a small portion of post-secondary student fees help pay for a refugee to attend university. Over the last 37 years, the WUSC communities in Manitoba have helped support 97 refugee students; many of those students attended the U of M.
“To date we have sponsored 25 students from places like South Sudan, Uganda, Somalia, Iran, Ghana and Ethiopia to name a few,” says David Arenas Oropeza, service learning coordinator with the student life office at the U of M.
“We hope to increase our presence on campus by recruiting more members to aid in our efforts.”
On April 14, the WUSC’s work was rewarded with the Lieutenant Governor’s Make a Difference Community Award. The award is given to individuals who embody the spirit of volunteerism and make a lasting and meaningful contribution to their communities.
Arenas Oropeza, accepted the award on behalf of all WUSC communities in the province.
“These volunteers believe in providing a safe haven to those in need, but also to provide them with the opportunity to study and pursue a career in Canada. The work done by these volunteers truly changes lives through education, one student at a time,” says Arenas Oropeza.
The WUSC aims to foster global citizenship, promote volunteerism and corporate social responsibility as well as welcome students from abroad.
“It is often the case that outstanding volunteer initiatives like this one are unnoticed,” says Arenas Oropeza, “this is because the work done by the local committees is motivated by a sense of solidarity and compassion rather than a desire for recognition.”