April 28th, 2023
Aniin, boozhoo, tansi, hello.
Again, it has been an honour and privilege to work on behalf of our University of Winnipeg (U of W) student family for a third term. I have been so humbled to have done so much for our community and students of the University of Winnipeg throughout my tenure. I have led through my Anishinaabe worldview and 7 sacred teachings, and this has allowed me to have success in building healthy relationships throughout my tenure as Vice President External Affairs (VPEA). Treating others with those teachings from the heart with love, respect, courage, honesty, wisdom, humility, and truth. I am so grateful to have been afforded this honour to serve as VPEA of three terms and look forward to my fourth and final term, and working with a new Executive team. This past year I wanted to highlight some of the initiatives the UWSA accomplished and hope to grow.
This year started with our second annual Truth and Reconciliation Week. This included events to raise awareness and education of the Residential School System, its impact and legacy. We also provided over 300 orange shirts directly to our students. This year we also had an evening with Geraldine Shingoose, (Residential School Survivor/Community Elder). Students were also encouraged to march from the Forks to St. John’s Park where a pow-wow was organized for the community.
Advocating against Bill 33 has always been a big part of my portfolio. It has been a privilege to build good respectful relationships with all parties, including the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills, and Immigration Honourable Jon Reyes, NDP member Jamie Moses, and Liberal party leader Dougald Lamont. Agenda items included: Post-Secondary Education Accountability Framework policy consultations and advocacy, International Student Health Care, and Indigenous student success. Part of the advocacy process, I had the honour of being invited to attend the Throne Speech at the Legislative Building. First time attending this event, I was so humbled for the invite and the networking was incredible.
It was a humbling experience to bring the 2nd Annual Unsheltered Relatives Initiative. Raising over $2,500 towards hot meals and beverages to our unsheltered relatives on the streets of Winnipeg was such a humbling experience for our student volunteers. To provide a small kind gesture really means the world to some that really struggling in life. To see that joy from something simple as hot meals, helps you realize how blessed we are in our academic journeys. Remember people go to bed and pray to be where we are as current students. We partnered with the Feast Bistro once again this year for the food (chilli, bannock, and a cookie).
I was also proud to be part of the planning committee to bring the Freedom Road 40 film screening, that was 4 years in the making, due to the pandemic.
This upcoming year I want to finish strong and continue the strong work of past executives, and do the work needed to ensure a bright strong future in place for the UWSA and future executives by accomplishing this hard work and dedication from your current and new executive team. The UWSA family has many wonderful events planned and upcoming that will continue to build on the momentum of student engagement among UWSA events and activities. I encourage all student to keep in touch with UWSA events and activities through the UWSA website and social media platforms such as Instagram.
Miigwetch, ekosi, thank you.
Jonathan Henderson, VPEA