Copyright © 2019 Federation of Students ~ Your Student Union.
Spotlight: Kazma Chaudhry, RAISE Transition Director
We caught up with Kazma Chaudhry, transition director for Feds’ newest student-run service Racial Advocacy for Inclusion, Solidarity and Equity (RAISE), to talk about her role, the service, and their official launch [external link] on February 27.
A third-year psychology and sociology major, Chaudhry has been active on campus as a marketing executive for The Women’s Centre and reporter for Imprint before becoming involved with RAISE.
“I've been involved in community activism initiatives since my first year through The Women's Centre. Throughout my time on campus I felt the lack of attention towards the needs of racialized students,” said Chaudhry. “During my time at The Women's Centre was when a student group from Wilfrid Laurier University was looking to host Faith Goldy, a self-proclaimed white nationalist, on the University of Waterloo campus. This was when I really felt the need for a service like RAISE was truly needed to be able to bring attention to issues like these, to be able to have a nuanced and evidence based discussion about the needs of racialized.”
With Chaudhry’s history of being involved in the past with supporting marginalized students, the decision to join RAISE came to her naturally. She joined the team as the transition director, where she helps ensure a smooth transition term over term as new executive teams take over and that consistency is maintained in running the service.
While being part of a new initiative comes with its own set of challenges, RAISE has also experienced challenges unique to an equity service for racialized students; but Chaudhry feels good about the opportunity to engage with the student community, and even prior to their official launch, RAISE has already experienced a positive reception.
“I'm very happy with how comfortably RAISE is fitting into the student community, and it shows that students really did feel the void of not having such a service in the past,” Chaudhry said. “We are currently planning a conference and trying to make the office look nicer, but we also deal with people who are still questioning the need for a service like RAISE.”
Chaudry said it’s important for students to get involved on campus because not only is student involvement crucial for services like RAISE to exist, but it provides an opportunity to make connections and create meaningful memories to look back on from your time at university.
“The Feds services are for UWaterloo students, by UWaterloo students, and we rely on student leadership to build communities on campus and help progress our various initiatives. And I've made some very important friendships throughout my involvement with each that I wouldn't have made simply by going to class and cramming at the library,” she said. “Getting involved is a great way to not just work on projects that will be personally fulfilling, but also make some great friends who share similar values as you do. I still have my placard for when the vote at the Feds general meeting took place to vote on the creation of RAISE as a service, and it's mementos like those that I'm going to remember most fondly about university life.”
RAISE will be officially launched on February 27 with a reception at Federation Hall. The reception will feature appetizers, performances, and speakers, with the overall goal of educating students on the role of RAISE on campus. Keep up with their Facebook page [external link] for information on tickets.