There is something students should know upon entering Trent, and that is, you can make an impact at your University!

This past June, The Robert W.F. Stephenson for Excellence for Student Governance, was awarded to Betelhem Wondimu for her tremendous work in activism at Trent.

Betty Wondimu
Wondimu presented with her award on June 28, 2015 at the Alumni Garden Party

Wondimu is a champion of Human Rights, with involvement in numerous organizations. As Trent Central Student Association’s past Women’s Issues Commissioner, Wondimu was specifically selected by the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) to represent not only Trent, but all small universities in Ontario in a round-table discussion that was organized by both the Ontario Government and the CFS.

It was here where she sat on a panel with student leaders from 21 other schools to speak on behalf of the 350,000 students that make up the largest student union in Ontario. Wondimu met Premier Kathleen Wynne at the panel to discuss the issue of sexual assault, and sexual harassment on college and university campuses in Ontario. She played an integral part in the conversation surrounding the  change in the recent sex- ed curriculum.

She has also been a member of various organizations such as the Trent African and Caribbean Student Union (TACSU), The Centre for Human Rights and Equity and Accessibility, where she spearheaded a video series on the various equity and accessibility services offered at Trent. She also had a leadership role in organizing a march on campus to end Rape Culture, partnered with the Trent Feminist Society.

By working within the activist framework at Trent, her work was recognized by Trent for her outstanding effort. Nominated by Britteny Blake, the award was unexpected, and prompted Wondimu to once again be active in getting the message out there to Trent students. The amount of experience and opportunities available at Trent is invaluable. Wondimu had this to say about her experiences- “Get involved, pursue your passions, despite the challenges!”

“When you get involved, you do it because you are passionate about something, and this is a community rich with passion. Before you know it, you accomplish so much more than you set out to do.”

Wondimu acknowledged that it is only in later years, and at award ceremonies that students are made aware that such awards even exist, and that they are applicable for them.

With all that she has accomplished, her name will be one to look out for as she goes on to represent Trent, already having made a true impact in activism and education.