When I began volunteering for the SASC three years ago, the only volunteer positions offered were outreach and office positions. Since then they’ve expanded. The SASC now offers Healthier Masculinity and event planning positions in addition to the outreach and office roles. This expansion is important because programs like the Healthier Masculinity Men’s Circle, the Healing Fires art show and Greek Life workshops allow us to reach more people and have far more conversations than booting and blog posts alone.
One of my favourite SASC-related interactions last year involved approaching folks as part of the referendum campaign to ask if they knew anything about the SASC. Lots of people heard about the SASC but didn’t realize how much we did and were hesitant to engage with taboo issues like sexual assault. Some didn’t realize that we had a Healthier Masculinities program, or have events like the art show, or do workshops for groups on campus about being an active bystander, or that we have safer sex supplies and are a resource for everybody. The most rewarding conversation I had was one where the person went from not knowing what the SASC was to taking our volunteer coordinator’s business card so they could volunteer next year.
If you’re thinking about volunteering I say do it! You’ll discover all sorts of people from all sorts of backgrounds with all sorts of experiences volunteer with the SASC. You do not have to be an expert to participate, contribute or learn from the volunteer program. If you are interested in intersectional, feminist social justice work, apply!
One piece of advice: ASK QUESTIONS. When I started volunteering for the SASC I had no clue what a lot of the acronyms and terms thrown around in the social justice sphere meant. I was scared of looking silly or ignorant for not asking for clarification because there are so many really knowledgeable people at the SASC. Once I got up the courage to ask, I realized how ridiculously inclusive and kind the team is. My questions were all answered clearly and genuinely and sparked more conversation because there is a lot of ambiguity, disagreement and history behind a lot of the terms used. So ask away – if not in a group, to someone one on one.
If more people know about the SASC and have positive interactions with our volunteers, more people will recognize it as a safe, inclusive place to access support. This further-reaching recognition in the UBC community will help reduce barriers faced by survivors of sexualized violence who want access to support services.
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