Kamillia and Angelica representing the Action Against Hunger, Glendon College chapter
Action Against Hunger welcomes everyone to join us in the fight against malnutrition. We recently had the honour to meet with Kamillia and Angelica, who founded a new Action Against Hunger chapter at their university. These two young leaders share their story:
We started an Action Against Hunger Chapter at our small university campus, Glendon College (York University).
Our president, Kamillia Grove, first learned of the opportunity on Earth Day in April, 2018. It was a cool but sunny Sunday at Nathan Phillips Square when she first noticed the Action Against Hunger Canada booth or, rather, the tiny plants that they had on display. Her friend struck up a conversation with the folks running the booth. Intrigued, Kamillia asked if they had any opportunities for post secondary students. It was this simple question that transformed her entire university experience.
At first, our future president was filled with nerves regarding the opportunity to start an Action Against Hunger Chapter at her university. After careful consideration, she decided it was something she must do, even if it required paving her own way. She knew she needed a partner in crime and that the perfect person for the job would be her peer, and dear friend, Angelica Chand. Angelica was quick to take on the noble challenge and soon became the Vice-President of Action Against Hunger: Glendon Chapter.
Our first year was an amazing one filled with challenges, successes, steep learning curves, and most importantly, passion. Our setup process was a long and confusing one. Neither of us had set up a club before, so we had to figure it out ourselves, from scratch. We wrote our club constitution, collected a list of interested students, and submitted the club registration application. Despite collecting nearly two dozen names of interested peers, at our first meeting, a total of zero peers attended, despite all the snacks we had advertised! We knew one of our biggest challenges would be student involvement, since we are based on such a small campus.
We found one of the best strategies for combating our lack of knowledge about running a club, and the challenge of a small campus, was to collaborate with other clubs. And so, we took every opportunity we could get to work with others.
Our first event was based around food literacy; we collaborated with Roots and Shoots, the environment club, in which Kamillia acts as the social media coordinator. We set up camp in our student café, Lunik, with visual demonstrations, take home flyers about proper food storage, and a big board filled with information, ready to guide us through our presentation and discussion. We even had a raffle for a prize. We learned the importance of careful preparation and location choice. Next time, we plan to choose a higher traffic area in order to attract more students!
For our second event, we teamed up with another club, International Studies Student Association, for International Development Week. Members of the Action Against Hunger Canada office in Toronto graciously offered to do a presentation on how NGOs address the inequalities women face in acquiring proper nutrition. It was an excellent learning opportunity for all students.
Our last event was in collaboration with the Glendon Muslim Student Association. Every year, they hold a charity dinner for which they choose a different organisation to support. A friend of Kamillia’s that was involved in the organisation recommended that we collaborate and choose Action Against Hunger! For this charity dinner, we learned what goes behind planning a large scale event. With over 40 students attending, we all raised around $500 for the Yemen hunger crisis.
While starting a club has come with its challenges, we wouldn’t necessarily refer to them as such. They were excellent learning opportunities and we were eager to improve! We faced them head on, with passion for the cause, which consequently, made them easy to tackle. In the process, we learned how to pave our own way, ask for help when needed, and contribute indefinitely to our community, locally and globally. We also learned a tonne about leadership, resilience, hard work, and teamwork. Looking back now, it seems silly how nervous we were to begin; we are so overjoyed that we took that leap of faith. All our professional and personal growth aside, it feels amazing to be contributing to Action Against Hunger and all the great things the organisation is able to accomplish; we cannot wait to begin again this coming school year!