QCanterbury President Wins YMCA Youth Award

UC Student Hamish Johnston (BSC Graduate in computer science,  currently studying Grad Dip Teaching and Learning – Secondary) has received the Asia New Zealand Foundation Advocate for Inclusion and Diversity Award. Hamish is the president of QCanterbury.

Youth Voice Canterbury values inclusion and seeks to ensure that all young people are included in decision-making. This award seeks to acknowledge a youth participation group or young person who is advocating for inclusivity and diversity of under-represented groups by demonstrating a commitment to and/or promotion of inclusion and diversity within a group, community, project, or place.

Student Experience Advisor Rose Reynolds, who supported Hamish’s nomination for the award, said, “Hamish is such a deserving winner of this award. He has worked tirelessly over the past four years to advocate for better conditions on campus including provision of gender-neutral toilets, LGBTQIA+ safe spaces, inclusive events and broader visibility and understanding about rainbow communities, in particular gender diversity. This work is so crucial because it is well-documented that Rainbow Communities’ youth are at much greater risk of sexual assault, harassment, bullying, and 5 times greater risk of suicidal ideation. The Youth2012 survey of New Zealand high school students indicated as many as 10% of youth identify as ‘queer’ or ‘questioning’.”

Hamish is also the Vice President and Equity officer for CompSoc. In this role he attends multiple college meetings, working groups, and planning meetings. He provides a strong student voice to student well-being decisions, all within his own personal time. He is also a general executive member of both the campus Postgraduate Student Association, Feminist Society, and a student representative on the University of Canterbury Student Association Equity and Well-being Advisory Group.

With the breadth and depth of Hamish’s passions, he not only advocates for those causes that directly influence him but also those that impact every student. It isn’t just pushing for large change within the university, he also works with individuals supporting them when they need to raise an issue. He has sat through a number of situations, being someone’s support person, allowing them to tell their story, and know that someone will stand beside them.

If you want to be involved in supporting Rainbow Communities on campus please come along to the Rainbow Hui, 12.30pm Tuesday 23 October in Undercroft101. This will be a gathering of staff and students, rainbow and non-rainbow, from different colleges and areas. This is a chance for you to share and observe what has been happening across the university, interact with staff and students, and also plan for the future. If there is anything you personally would like to get out of this, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with Hamish: haj35@uclive.ac.nz

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