We Are All In This Together

Abdullah Barakat - President
Posted on: March 9, 2018

Hello again, friends. For this issue of the Iron Warrior, I will not be giving an update on the work I have been doing. Instead, I wanted to share my thoughts with all of you about something that affects all of us.

For the past week and a half, I have had something weighing heavily on my mind: the student death that occurred at UWP last Monday. As a student myself, and as a person that has been in dark places many times over the past few years, this has really shaken me up. I have had many people reach out to me to discuss this and have read many comments about this incident all over the internet. Many of the comments came from less informed students in terms of their knowledge on the operations of this university, but the bigger issues lie with the fact that sometimes perception is reality. Regardless of the truth behind these comments, if students perceive such transgressions within the university, they must be addressed. The issues with the culture fostered at UW, the lack of community, and the idea of “things are so much harder than they need to be” were mentioned a lot. These are all genuine concerns that have been felt for a while but not much has been done to try and fix these systematic problem.

I am thankful to be in the position I am in, because it allows me to have conversations with people that might influence change. As EngSoc President, I have been having many conversation about this with numerous members of Faculty, including Dean Pearl Sullivan herself. I have summarized all of the concerns students have brought forward and presented them to Pearl, who is very willing to work with the Engineering Society and members of Faculty to investigate ways of putting an end to this perceived culture of negativity with the hope of making Waterloo a better place for the students. While this is obviously not an overnight process, her willingness to hear the students’ concerns shows her dedication to our Faculty and University community.

In times such as these, I implore you to reach out to your support systems, seek help if you need it, and make sure to take care of yourself. We care about you. UW cares about you. You are more valuable to this world than your grades, than any co-op job, than any assignment. You are not alone in your struggles and you do not need to be. Your friends, your cohorts, your instructors, everyone is there for you if need them. We are one community, and we are here for each other. If there is anything I could ever do to help any of you, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. You will make it through. You deserve to be here. You matter. You are worth it. Until next time, friend.

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