The UBC Name Project

UBC Name Project- banner

Post by Lilian Higashikata, Equity Ambassador and 3rd-year Arts student

UBC is a large university with 58,284 students, of which 10,181 of the students are from 149 countries, supported by 15,171 staffs. On a campus with such incredible population, it’s very easy to feel lost in numbers and forget to see that the UBC community is made up of diverse individuals.

In a hope to remind the UBC community (including you and me!) that every one of us is unique, I decided to create a social media blog (inspired by the Humans of New York project) that highlights and celebrates what is one of the most basic parts of our identities – our names.

Through the Name Project I am inviting the wider UBC community to take some time to learn the meaning and stories behind our names and reflect on our diverse cultural backgrounds, heritages, and identities.

My hope is that participants and readers will be inspired to ask their peers about their names and be open to it leading to discourse on diversity, intercultural understanding, and ongoing learning about their own family background and heritage.

I will attempt to interview two to three people each week, and post their story and picture onto our Facebook page. If you see a girl in an Equity Ambassador hoodie with a camera looking for another person to interview, feel free to come say hi, and tell me more about yourself! My personal goals include making new friends and listening to more stories!




My name is pronounced ‘dretty.’ Kind of like ‘pretty’ but with a D instead of P. My friends came up with it because people find it so hard to pronounce my name. Whenever I’m in class and a prof is taking attendance and freezes, I raise my hand and say, ‘I think it’s me.’

My name ‘Dhrti’ is actually a Sanskrit name. Sanskrit is a really old language that dates back to 1500BCE, and it’s a root language for many other languages. My name means ‘joy,’ ‘happiness,’ and ‘command,’ and it’s also connected to a powerful Hindu goddess, Parvati. I haven’t met another Dhrti in my life, so I really love my name.

Stepping Stools: Equity vs Equality


Post by Melody Cheung, Equity Ambassador and 3rd-year Arts student

At one of the very first meetings of the Equity Ambassadors (EA), one of the EA’s drew two pictures on the board. The picture was of people standing on blocks. On the left, everyone was standing on the same sized block whilst on the right everyone was standing on different sized blocks. This was the beginning of my journey in learning what equity means.

A quick Google search on the definition of equity brings up words such as ‘impartiality’ and ‘fairness’. But what does this really mean? How is it different than the world equality? What I learned that day was pretty eye-opening. It happened through a short anecdote about the difference between these two terms and how important it is.

Imagine that you are at a baseball game and have to look over a fence in order to see the game. There are also several others who are in the same situation as you are. The fence is quite high so everyone needs a stepping stool of some sort to see over the fence. In equality, everyone would get the same sized stepping stool. Thus, one can immediately see a glaring problem! Not everyone is the same height. This is where equity steps in. In being equitable, everyone would get different sized stepping stools so that they could all see over the fence. Everyone would get a chance to view the game.

This is what equity is about; it is about how people need different ‘boosts’ in order to have a fair chance to participate in society. When I first learned this concept, I was surprised that I hadn’t thought of equity in that way before and that it made so much sense after being explained. I think equity is such a simple concept yet it can have such profound reach.

Equity in essence is about ‘fairness’ but the way it brings it about is quite different than equality. For me equity has to do with paying attention to specific needs and working with individuals and groups to provide customised ‘stepping stools’ in the form of social, economic and political tools. This definition of equity is a cornerstone of being an Equity Ambassador and something that will continue to guide my journey in promoting equity in all its forms.

A note about the Equity Ambassadors logo: One of the EA’s suggested the ‘baseball’ anecdote be incorporated into our logo and this was the result! I’ve been working on the design with input from all the EA’s and I am so excited to be able to create discussion around the reasons behind the ‘stepping stools’.

Intercultural Understanding: Finding My Path

Submission by Chris Kim, Wellness Peer and PPEC Representative

I came to UBC to become a doctor. I think I told myself I wanted to help people, but that sounds too altruistic to be me. The real reason had to do with two big influences on my life: Parents and society. They formed an unrivaled partnership of direct and indirect pressure; my teenage mind was convinced.

All the little things in university drove me nuts. Why couldn’t I do laundry? Why had I just realized how competitive med school was? Why didn’t I learn anything useful in high school? Looking back, all I did was think about myself.

I have grown a lot in the past 4 years and I’ve found something I really love to do; fortunately, it doesn’t involve med school. This development came from a mental adjustment; I started thinking more openly and with greater empathy, which accelerated my learning and propelled me to try many new things. The greatest impact it had was on my understanding of diversity. People always say diversity is important and it’s part of the Canadian way, but diversity is commonly seen as a barrier. Not just ethnic diversity, but diversity in all forms. Like personality differences in teams, ‘how do we include that quiet guy?’

Instead of seeing it as a barrier, I’m starting to see diversity as a learning opportunity. Any differences in opinion, beliefs, and experiences are chances to mutually learn. This idea of intercultural understanding can be difficult at times, but being open-minded and seeing diversity in a new light has made me a better person. In keeping with this mindset and in the spirit of UBC Thrive, I have taken on a couple new things the past month like mentorship and stress breaks. Having mentors helped me realize I learn best verbally and through conversation. The stress breaks is an idea I got from a friend, where I stop thinking about everything and enjoy nature for 15 minutes. Both have helped my well-being and both are a result of thinking interculturally.

International Women’s Day at UBC!

Post by Elaine Lin

This year on March 8 in Irving K. Barber, the UBC Equity Ambassadors put together another International Women’s (IWD) Day event once again to raise awareness of this important day and to celebrate women. We focused our event this year on positive body image to celebrate real and natural beauties, regardless of shape, size, gender, ethnicity, race, sexuality, age, class, ability, economic background, or religious belief. We have seen, time and time again, mainstream media featuring bodies, particularly women’s bodies, that have been severely Photoshopped and embellished upon.

We have seen the ways in which bodies, especially women’s bodies, have been sexually objectified in mainstream media. We hoped that by organizing this IWD event, we can encourage people to love themselves and their bodies and to deconstruct the media’s image of women as sexual objects. We also hoped to empower women and people in general, so that they can be confident of who they are instead of judging themselves according to societal expectations.

Our event booth featured:

  • A fun IWD-themed photo booth for taking cool and memorable photos
  • Inspirational take-away bookmarks with quotes
  • Real-life stories of women
  • A recycle box to throw away insecurities and things people dislike about their bodies or themselves in general
  • Free treats

The takeaway bookmarks with body positive quotes were empowering and meaningful. The display board with colourful photos depicting diverse forms of women raised awareness and started conversations. Further, the photobooth questions and quotes got people thinking and engaged with the event theme. Having our friends who were willing to write their own personal stories and posting their photos was inspiring for people to see. It made the whole idea of feminism and gender equality seem more relatable. Lastly, we raised awareness amongst males as well.

One of the popular bookmark quotes featured:

“Call me smart; call me sassy; call me bold; call me strong. Don’t call me hot; don’t call me sexy; don’tcall me baby. Call me by what I am, don’t call me by the narrow expectations that society has placed upon me.” – Selena Zhong

We hope that another IWD event will be hosted by Equity Ambassadors and other organizations and clubs on campus in the years to come.

For photos and more info of the IWD event, check out our Facebook event page. Be sure to “like” our  International Women’s Day @ UBC Facebook page to stay up to date about IWD- and feminism-related info.

Do you want to help make UBC more welcoming and inclusive?

Applications are now open for Equity Ambassadors!

Equity Ambassadors are a diverse group of students that work towards creating an inclusive learning and working environment on campus.

As an Equity Ambassador, you will take part in promoting positive social change among UBC staff, students and faculty, and undertake activities to raise awareness around diversity and discrimination on campus. Continue reading

Interested in the Equity Ambassadors?

Want to get involved at UBC? Are you interested in becoming an Equity Ambassador in 2012-13? Learn how at the CSI’s 2nd Birthday and Involvement Fair! Stop by the Centre for Student Involvement on January 25th between 12 and 3 pm to learn about campus resources, meet student leaders and get involved!

There will be live entertainment provided by the Blank Vinyl Project, as well as light snacks and birthday cake! There will also be resource booths with information about exactly how and when to get involved in some amazing opportunities, as well as the stories of some of UBC’s brightest student leaders! The CSI is all about finding your passion and niche at UBC – whether it’s the tools to be an Imagine MUG leader or a UBC REC volunteer, the CSI Involvement Fair will have the resources to connect you to your involvement path.

Come for the free birthday cake, leave with the inspiration to be involved in the next big thing!

For more information on the Centre for Student Involvement, check out: