Hi everyone! My name is Manvir Aujla, and I am currently majoring in the department of Health Sciences here at SFU. My studies are focused in the Population and Quantitative concentration. I have a keen passion and interest in working on the use of social innovation to promote public health.
I joined Embark as the Social Sustainability Coordinator at the start of the Spring 2019 semester. Since starting I have been working to first off, to explain what social sustainability is and how it effects our everyday lives. Through initiatives such as Community Kitchens and Cohorts, as well as Embark’s Diversity and Inclusion Working Groups, I have been trying to instil the elements of equity, diversity and social cohesion into the SFU community at large.
I was interested in volunteering at Embark because I was looking for a way to support and incorporate a holistic approach that recognizes and includes the physical, mental, social, ecological, cultural and spiritual aspects of health and being able to spread this within the community here at SFU. Heading the social sustainability efforts with Embark allowed for me to take this on by promoting and finding ways to innovate the aspects of inclusion and involvement. Also, I was also into getting free fruits and vegetables.
The biggest benefits of volunteering here at Embark is being able to contributing to an organizational culture that is purely dedicated to promoting and empowering their volunteers and the members here at SFU they serve. Since my first day, I have been given the support and freedom from everyone involved at Embark to engage my ideas and gave me a platform to promote the systemic issues that I was passionate about.
I am most proud of my contributions using the Community Kitchen events to promote good health and good well-being by creating recipes for students around themes of sustainable and seasonal diets. These opportunities allowed me to participate with our members, working to change unhealthy living conditions and support environments that promote healthy lifestyles. Being able to share a meal and our stories with our student members is the cherry on top.
The biggest takeaway from my time volunteering here at Embark is that small changes and efforts can have a large and invaluable impact. Even though the scale you are working with may seem small, with the right mindset, these small actions can be seen to have far-reaching implications. As a volunteer, you come to the understanding that simple actions can make the world of difference for someone else.
For any future volunteers who are getting involved with Embark, I would recommend you to get involved in every which way possible and to be vocal about your passions and ideas. I would recommend not only seeing as a volunteering experience, but a chance to develop new skills, discover new passions, gaining new insights about yourself and the world around you.