Equity on Campus by Lakshay Karnwal
I came across the concept of equity for the first time in my ECON 101 class when the professor discussed the difference between equity and equality. I deemed equity to be a fair allocation of resources in economic terms. Later, through my time in multidisciplinary teams, I figured equity is more than just a definition. It is a concept that provides an equal platform for this fair allocation of resources. What does that mean in terms of the student community on campus? To me, equity on campus means giving equal opportunities to students to explore their academic and non-academic interests.
The quest for knowledge and education brings thousands of international students to our campus each year. Students like me are not only looking for answers but are explorers who are asking better questions. These students deserve an equal opportunity to quench their thirst for knowledge. As an international student from India, I aim to get a quality multidisciplinary education. Over three years, I have had the golden opportunity to work with the Department of Economics, Philosophy and Political Sciences, UBC Engineering Society, the Student Experience Office and many student-led course unions and clubs. Each of these departments or societies has added enormously to my education as I aspire to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science.
I am a staunch believer in “new ways open new doors.” From my first day at university, I wanted to use the tremendous resources on campus to keep pursuing and learning about my interests. But one can only tap into new opportunities if there is a comfortable environment to share and express. The community at UBC Okanagan, with hundreds of student leaders and volunteers, has enabled explorers like me to acclimatise to new challenges. Throughout my time in clubs, I have met tomorrow’s torchbearers, entrepreneurs, and intellectuals. Sharing a creative space with such people from all over the world is an augmenting experience. I have been a student of debate, Director of Competition and winner of the Annual Roger Watt’s Debate Competition during this time. The debate society, a melting pot of ideas, served as an open forum for me to challenge my views and break the epistemic bubble. In the context of global issues, intellectual freedom is a powerful tool and a privilege. As I reflect back on my first three years of university, I am grateful for having access to these opportunities. From the debate society’s mentorship panel to campus employees, the essence of the UBC community lies in its inclusive environment. This is a testament to the University’s work in the areas of equity, diversity and inclusion.
In my opinion, this is the true meaning of equity on campus. UBC Okanagan is a place where students come from across the globe, from different backgrounds and cultures. Each student has the right to influence communities through opportunities on campus. Unfortunately, discrimination based on sex, religion and gender is still prevalent, but there should be no discrimination when a student explores on campus. I believe universities should be a safe haven that allows students to learn from their immediate community to form belief systems that they shall carry with them for life. Embracing unknown territory should be the aim of every international student. At UBC, students we have a global platform to hone our skills. Hence, my one piece of advice to all international students would be to try new interests in these years. You will be surprised at how much you can learn while promoting equity, diversity and inclusion at the same time.
About the author: Lakshay Karnwal is a third-year Computer Science student from India. He enjoys taking part in leadership experiences and aims to combine them with his technical skills. Apart from his academic interests, Lakshay is a football fanatic who loves to jam on the guitar with his friends.