Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) is a place where many outdoor enthusiasts gear up for their next adventure, meet new friends, learn skills or join community groups. Stephanie got an unexpected realization standing outside of a local MEC store in grade 10. She was collecting signatures for a petition organized by the Ontario Nature Youth Council when she had the sudden understanding that the protection of the environment is a political issue. There was no turning back.
Since then, Stephanie has been involved in many political campaigns through her involvement with the UBC350 and as the team leader of the Vancouver-Quadra branch of the Dogwood initiative.
As a student at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Stephanie worked tirelessly to encourage UBC’s Board of Governors to divest its $1 billion endowment fund from the fossil fuel industry - an idea the Board of Governors recently rejected. Although this is disappointing to Stephanie, she has shown her resilience and dedication to the cause with her continued desire for change and new ideas to make it happen.
She is taking this setback in stride, and learning more about what will make future initiatives more successful, including the difficult task of learning how to work with bureaucracies and coming up with strategies that will inspire change within the bureaucratic system.
Stephanie shines in her talent for creating community. Her ability to keep the humanity in the movement and make the experience fun and rewarding for those she works with makes her a strong leader. Many of her peers see her as a pillar in the community -- she creates a space where volunteers and colleagues feel useful, safe and important to the cause.
She also knows how to win people over with potlucks and movie nights. She creates positive volunteer groups by initiating check-ins and one-on-ones with new and old volunteers to make sure everyone is heard and acknowledged.
In many ways, the politics of the environmental movement is about the people. Stephanie understood that from an early age and has demonstrated her ability to bring out the best in the individuals and groups she works with. Stephanie says she maintains her inspiration by those around her, even random people on the street who stop to chat, to remember to be optimistic about the future.
We look forward to what Stephanie can accomplish moving forward as she continues to promote UBC students voting in elections.