I have always been keen to be involved in worthwhile activities outside my study hours. It usually involves advocacies such as environment and sustainability, climate change, human rights and LGBTQ+ rights. I’ve recently been appointed as a Diversity & Inclusion Lead Ambassador and here are some of the best things I love about this new role:
1. It’s very rewarding
Every advocacy project is worthwhile to do, it’s always fulfilling to be able to spend your time, talent and thoughts to something you truly believe in. For me, inclusion and diversity resounded very well because I am a new international student in a foreign continent, and I am also part of the LGBTQ+ community. It can also be financially rewarding! It’s not a lot but it’s definitely a bonus to be paid to work on your advocacy. I got this opportunity through the Manchester Students’ Union website, check this out for potential paid opportunities like this.
2. Meet like-minded people
Before moving to uni, I was quite anxious about making new friends because I was worried that I wouldn’t find nice, thoughtful souls like my friends back home. But beyond your course mates, there are lots of ways to meet new friends. Meeting like-minded people in an advocacy work is great because you already share some of your principles and core beliefs – something your flatmates or people you meet at a pub might not be very interested in. Now, some of my closest friends in Manchester are my fellow Student Ambassadors.
3. Flexible, millennial-friendly work environment
Aside from meeting people who share your passions, my colleagues are just like me – driven millennials who are juggling school and other things but want to make a positive impact on the world. That means that they understand our situation and you’d have colleagues who are considerate of your academic schedule and mental health. After all, nothing says “millennial-friendly workplace” more than an SU building that has bean bags, gender neutral toilets, and an open plan office layout that encourages collaboration.
4. An urgent need to send a message across
Islamophobia, racial and gender discrimination and hate crimes are increasing at universities. The University is an institution that thrives on the diversity of minds that built it thus we have to uphold the inclusivity of this institution. As Diversity & Inclusion Student Ambassadors, we get to carry this message to our networks in the flat or halls, societies, and even back home to our families. It is indeed an honour to speak up about these issues.
5. Time to act
Eleanor Roosevelt, the first Chairperson of the UN Human Rights Commission once said “the world of the future is in our making; tomorrow is now.” And now really is the time to play an active role in speaking up about these issues and take action against hate and discrimination. On December 10, we will mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at #standup4humanrights and you can be part of this, too. Hope to see you there!