Celebrating 40 years of impact with WUSC at StFX

WUSC conference 2024
StFX WUSC Society co-presidents Chloe Oleksiuk and Sierra Banks

The World University Service of Canada (WUSC) Society at StFX recently marked an important milestone—40 years on campus and 40 years changing lives for the better.

To celebrate, StFX’s WUSC Society organized its inaugural conference March 29-30th, a two-day reflection of the transformative power of education and empowerment. The event also raised around $3,000 for student refugees. 

“It was a great experience, and a great turnout,” Chloe Oleksiuk, a fourth year honours health student and society co-president with education student Sierra Banks, said on the conference. 

WUSC is a Canadian non-profit organization that works to create a better world for all young people. It has a unique sponsorship model, which empowers Canadian students to play an active role in the sponsorship of refugee students. 

Ms. Oleksiuk says the students who have come to StFX through WUSC are not only an inspiration, they have enriched campus life and given so much.  

“They’ve taught me more than I ever could teach them,” she says. “They’ve changed my perspective…and have given me such gratitude.”

Currently, seven WUSC students are registered at StFX, a remarkable number for a university of StFX’s size. 

The society itself is the largest its been in its 40 years on campus, with about 40 members. It has also raised about $10,000 in the last three years to help support student refugees, Ms. Oleksiuk says. 

Additionally, at StFX, $8 from every student’s tuition goes to support one student refugee coming to study at StFX.

While WUSC sponsors the first year, the funding gradually decreases in subsequent years for the students. Ms. Oleksiuk says that’s why the society’s main goals are to create awareness for WUSC and to fundraise.

“Having a local committee is so important because we’re bringing in student refugees,” she says. “They’re resilient, and the top of the top. It’s very competitive to get these scholarships. These are brilliant, compassionate students who will contribute so much to society. They’re bringing in these different skills and perspectives.”

WUSC conference group 2024

She says the conference was inspiring and powerful, with guest speakers including Sarah Wiseman, Canada Director of The Shapiro Foundation; nurse and refugee activist Bahati Ernestine Hategekimana and her sister Iris; and human rights activist Nazanin Afshin-Jam. Dr. Brad Long, a former StFX WUSC faculty advisor, also spoke. 

It was an emotional conference as attendees shared stories and learned from each other in their efforts to create a better future. 

“You kind of forget the impact you’re making. It brings it back home to the purpose of why you’re doing it,” Ms. Oleksiuk says. 

WUSC conference photo

StFX Vice-President Students Elizabeth Yeo says the StFX WUSC Society has demonstrated remarkable impact and achievement as it celebrates its 40th anniversary on campus. The society, supported by financial awards from StFX, has helped transform the lives of countless individuals from vulnerable and perilous circumstances. 

“Through the dedication and commitment of student, faculty, and staff volunteers, WUSC has provided a pathway for students to pursue education at StFX, empowering them to effect positive change in their own lives and in the wider world through the development of their talents and gifts.”

Ms. Yeo says the society also attracts volunteers committed to service and through their involvement, they learn and come to understand important world issues deeply and personally such as conflict, women's empowerment, human rights, refugee resettlement, equity and global understanding of societies and cultures very different from Canada. 

To learn more about the StFX WUSC Society please see HERE