Diversity and Inclusivity
My journey to engineering was a little different than most, engineering was not my first choice in Undergrad. I started my first year doing Medical Sciences at Western, and very early on during the year I realized that I had made the wrong decision. I still pushed through and finished my first year with the hope that I’ll start liking my program, however just before the end of the school year I decided to transfer to engineering and pursue my love for the science of engineering and tackling real world problems. Switching programs was definitely a scary decision, since I had to start from scratch. A new program meant new people and experiences that I was not familiar with. During this past semester I tried my best to experience everything I missed out on last year. I got involved in many clubs, met a lot of amazing people, AND attended my first conference. FYIC (First Year Integration Conference) is a leadership development conference for first year engineering students. It’s a great introduction to the various engineering societies across Canada, and links back to how individuals can improve their own engineering society, and experience.
I can confidently say that attending FYIC was one of the highlights of my first semester as an engineer. It was amazing to get out of my Western bubble and meet SO MANY great people from diverse backgrounds. One of the most important things I learned during my experience at FYIC was the significance of diversity and a culture of inclusivity for the Engineering student experience. The presentations that focused on inclusivity, and diversity, were the most eye opening for me. We are blessed to have an amazing community at Western, however undoubtedly there’s always more to be done in order to create a welcoming and inclusive community for all. In one of the sessions, we learned about many cases of discrimination, and tackled biases through real world case studies, it was shocking to see that students are experiencing such levels of discrimination leading them to feel helpless and unsafe at their university. The goal of these sessions was to not only create an increased sense of awareness, but it also provided the delegates with the tools and resources to champion inclusion. As student leaders, we have the power and responsibility to create environments that are inclusive for all students. Ensuring that every student feels welcome in our engineering faculty, student societies, and social groups is imperative to their academic success and contribution to the community. As future engineers, we need to recognize the significance of celebrating, promoting and advocating for diversity in engineering. We can make significant impacts in our community through planning different events or initiatives that strive to welcome all members of our community. To tackle this issue and to create a bigger change within our faculty, it is important to have a diverse executive team that can view the events and initiatives from many different perspectives. Student leaders often set the atmosphere for the rest of the group, so it is important for them to think inclusively. We need to begin making changes in our current environment in order to make Western Engineering feel like home for each and every student.