The centre won five awards in total, including best student activist group
This is not your regular student space.
The Community Action Centre (CAC) brought home a plethora of Readers’ Choice Awards this year.
They won best non-academic support, best equity and access services, best student activist group, best place to hang out, and their From the Margins book club won best event. The Readers’ Choice Awards are held by The Dialog.
Previously known as the Constituency Community Centre until 2013, the CAC is a safe space for GBC students who care about social justice to share their experiences, socialize, and raise awareness on equity issues. The CAC is part of the Student Association (SA) which also funds The Dialog.
“It’s just really great to see people engaging with the space and that it resonates with them,” said Michelle Pettis, co-ordinator for the CAC.
Pettis mentioned that the centre is frequented by victims of harassment, stigma or discrimination. To be able to be supported by peers who listen is unique and helps fuel their academic experience, they said.
Pettis also noted that the CAC plays an important role in ensuring underrepresented and marginalized voices are included in decision-making at the college and to have them recognized as change-makers and leaders, “not future leaders, but leaders now,” they added.
The CAC is home to six equity groups for underrepresented students, and there is a representative from each group staffed at the CAC.
Pettis said there is no single way to do activism.
“Activists are those who are willing to be humble and learn alongside others,” they said. “We redefine what activism looks like, which I think helps other people see themselves as the leaders that they are.”
The CAC was also voted the best place to hang out. Pettis said that building up dignity, and helping people see themselves represented in staffing, the arts, and the space itself contributed to making the CAC a place students know is theirs and that they want to hang out in.
Pettis is most proud of their staff’s campaigning against OSAP cuts. Within two weeks their team collected 4000 petition signatures for the cause.
“We’re really ignited right now and that’s been a strong highlight of the year,” they said.