Sarika Haque is a third year Biological Sciences major who has been chosen as the recipient of the BSA’s Community Involvement Award for 2018/2019. She has been volunteering with the WE organization, teaching kids to skate at the Leisure Centre, tutoring at Calgary Family Services, as patient support at the Peter Lougheed Hospital, and a multitude of other organizations. In total, Sarika has dedicated her time and energy to 11 different places or organizations. You guessed it; she could not pick a favourite. Her list is so long, it is not hard to imagine why she was chosen as the recipient of the Community Involvement Award.
Sarika has been involved with the WE organization since she was in grade 7 and in grade 9 she attended her first WE Day in Calgary. She was so inspired that she continued her involvement with the WE organization throughout high school. After her first year of university, Sarika went on a trip with the WE organization to Kumbhalgarh, India, where she helped build classrooms and a washroom for the local school, taught English to the local children, and helped the local women with their daily chores. Sarika also supports international issues through her role as the VP of Human Rights for the Bengali Students’ Society, who implement fundraisers to support a child in need in Bangladesh.
Sarika is the VP External for the Canadian Organization of Undergraduate Health Research, who help underrepresented students conduct summer research by pairing them with a principal investigator at the U of C. As a photojournalist for Humans of UCalgary, Sarika gets to conduct interviews with students and staff to learn about their hobbies, aspirations, fears, and more. She believes everyone on campus has an interesting story that needs a platform to be shared on.
Sarika is a member-at-large of the Student Refugee Board, which sponsors the tuition and residence costs for two refugees each year, at the expense of the U of C. Sarika has been tutoring children of low-income families through Calgary Family Services. Lots of the families involved are newcomers to Canada who are unfamiliar with Canadian school systems and curricula, so they bring their children to tutors like Sarika for extra help. In addition to this, she has also been an on-call volunteer at Whitefield Daycare and has helped newcomers to Canada learn about events and opportunities in the community. She also volunteers at the SU information desk to help newcomers find their way around campus. A trend was noted; Sarika is passionate about helping newcomers to Canada and others who may feel outcast. This is because her family came to Canada when she was 4 years old. She was able to adjust to life here quickly, but her parents faced obstacle after obstacle in adjusting to life here. The hard work of her parents has inspired Sarika to dedicate her time to those who need help integrating into Canadian society. Her parents are also her greatest support in all of her endeavours.
When asked why others should get involved, Sarika said she finds that being involved opens up lots of other opportunities. It helps you build on your communication skills, sense of responsibility, and overall the way you interact with others. Sarika believes it is intuitive for people to want to help other people:
“We all want the best for humankind and hope to create positive change in the world. However, I don’t think we need to wait to make that change. By getting involved in your community, you can alter the lives of those around you, right this second. So put yourself out there, because nothing can hinder you from making a difference.”