One of the storytelling series in the UBC Centennial series, It’s About Time: UBC a Place of Change is “Drivers of Diversity – Stories of Struggle and Success.” This series commemorates the individuals and groups that helped to make UBC a leading force in diversity, inclusion, and intercultural understanding. The UBC Equity and Inclusion Office is heading this series with the aim of capturing the often untold stories of struggle and success by students, staff, alumni, and faculty, who have pushed the university to meet and exceed in areas of equity and inclusion in British Columbia today. The series will focus on three main streams: “Student Stories of Struggle and Success at UBC”, “Staff and Workers Unite making UBC an Inclusive Workplace”, and “Faculty as Champions of Change at UBC”. While these stories will be told in different ways with different emphasis, they will help to enrich our understanding of the campus in this year-long celebration.
“Student Stories of Struggle and Success at UBC”
This stream will focus on how students have worked together to champion diversity, inclusion, and equity on the UBC campus since the first Trek in 1921. In many cases, students have been the driving force of change on campuses across Canada, and this is no different at UBC. Stories will honour student activism, identify the development of resources for and by students, and celebrate both the struggles and successes of students as part of the last 100 years at UBC. One significant stride in this area has been the development and support for the AMS Resource Groups who provide educational programing and support for students in the areas of race, gender, sexuality, social justice and environmental sustainability. These groups help to channel activist and political energies into making the campus an inclusive and more welcoming space, while championing cutting-edge issues.
“Staff and Workers Unite making UBC an Inclusive Workplace”
Staff are often the considered the backbone of the university, as they maintain the structure and longevity of campus culture. Staff and workers support the everyday institutional workings that make both students’ and faculty’s success at UBC possible. In this stream, staff and workers are celebrated for their contributions to making the campus an inclusive and equitable place. As one of the first places where a predominantly female workforce were able to unionize, UBC set a precedent unlike any other in the early 1970s. Similarly, tutorial assistants have worked diligently to represent and protect student workers across the UBC campus. To this day, staff members and workers across the university sustain the workings of the institution, which enhances the work of both students and faculty.
“Faculty as Champions of Change at UBC”
The pursuit of knowledge through research and teaching is fundamental to faculty. In many cases, faculty have both the authority and power to champion change in the most dire of consequences. In this stream, the focus is on faculty members and their willingness to push for change and argue for justice. From gender equality in housing to the inclusion of same-sex partners in the university benefit plans, these faculty members have used their research interests, passion, and resources to alter the direction of the university from one of tradition to one of inclusion. Today, faculty members continue to navigate issues of equity, diversity and inclusion in their research and teaching, helping to make UBC a top ranked university.