Have you ever wanted to learn about what you can do to help create a safe and open atmosphere at Brock? Would you like to remain educated on topics of diversity, equity, or any other social justice-related issues? Are you interested in eliminating any and all discrimination on campus related to age, race, gender, sexuality, disability, and more?
If so, Brock’s Student Justice Centre (SJC) is the place to go, where the centre’s substantial and carefully chosen team is there to help students and educate individuals on any of their social justice and equity needs. The organization, made up of eight student staff members and one full time staff, is committed to supporting students, faculty and community members in creating a safe, educated and active campus.
“When we think about social justice as a whole, a lot of people don’t fully understand that everyone else has different experiences,” said Rabia Choudhary, Student Justice Education Coordinator. “But coming to a university space, you get to meet various people with different backgrounds, different experiences and sometimes those individuals also experience various forms of oppression in university spaces as well.”
Social justice can be defined as the idea that every human being deserves complete political, economic and social rights and opportunities. To withhold such access is what creates discrimination, which Brock’s SJC strides to eliminate.
“For me at least, social justice is thinking about how to support people in intersectional and equitable ways to give them opportunities to succeed in life in whatever they want to do,” said Choudhary.
To achieve these goals, the fully undergraduate student-funded centre has various positions for its staff in order to address each issue that may be present on campus.
The team consists of two student staff working on issues pertaining to antiracism advocacy, two staff working on disability, justice and accessibility advocacy, two staff working on general social justice issues, one staff focusing on international student advocacy and one staff concentrating on feminist advocacy issues.
Such a comprehensive team of student staff allows SJC to create a safe and equal campus for students where individuals can speak freely with any one of the centre’s representatives.
“One thing I love about SJC is that we help create conversations and spaces for conversations,” said Choudhary. “And being able to have those conversations is really important because then students can talk about their needs and what’s happening to them in different spaces at Brock.”
The centre is able to create these conversations by offering various events, workshops, and even panel series. The SJC’s BIPOC drop-in, created specifically for racialized students, as well as their Disability Support drop-in, are two perfect examples of some of the countless events offered throughout the year.
Such drop-ins, which both launched last week, offer a space for students who identify as a part of the respective groups, where individuals are free to play games, work on schoolwork, meet other students or speak with the disclosure-trained staff on anything they are hoping to get off their chest.
In addition to the drop-ins offered, the SJC holds various workshops throughout the year.
“Our workshops cover so many different topics, experiences and perspectives. Something I really appreciate about [them] is that we give power back to the students to talk about the issues that matter to them,” said Choudhary.
Choudhary also disclosed that workshops in the past have created many conversations amongst students, with those conversations influencing many significant changes made in terms of social justice at Brock. The information in their workshops have provided students with education on topics related to social justice that they may have not previously known about.
In addition to their various events and workshops, Brock’s SJC continues to give back to their students through resources such as the free chest binders and breast forms program. Students simply have to fill out a form online, and the supplies will then be mailed to an address of their choosing. Choudhary claims that the program has aided almost 200 students already.
Such workshops, events, and programs only graze the surface of the facilities offered by the SJC, and there are many more amenities to come.
“We really love supporting students in whatever way that they need. If you need someone to talk to, if you just want to hang out and meet new people or if you want to learn more about a specific topic, you can always reach out to us and our staff are more than happy to talk to you or support you in various ways,” said Choudhary.