Portrait of an Engaged Student
International student, Cameron Wathey, on interviewing Atom Egoyan, long nights at Robarts Library and giving back to his new community.
Q: What program were you in?
A: I am Cinema Studies Major, English and History Minor
Q: What college were you in?
A: I am a proud University College student, however, I spent a great deal of my time at Innis College over the past four years.
Q: Where are you now?
A: I am currently the Vice-President of Internal & Services at the University of Toronto Student’s Union.
Q: What are your favorite memories of your college and University of Toronto?
A: My time was split between University College and Innis College. At University College, my fondest memory was winning the House Cup during Orientation. At Innis College, it would be the five minutes I was fortunately provided with to interview filmmaker and U of T alumnus, Atom Egoyan.
Q: What was the biggest lesson you learned while at U of T?
A; No matter how challenging the task, it can be achieved with perseverance and dedication. U of T pushed my limits and I am grateful for it. I truly understand the importance of hard work and the meaning of achieving a well-earned goal because of my journey at U of T.
Q: How did your program or college change your outlook?
A: It was definitely a combination of my college and program that provided me with the perspective of giving back to the community. U of T’s college system allowed me to bond with a small, close-knit community. Some of my closest friends are from University College because I was able to enjoy a welcoming community within this large university. My time spent working towards my program at Innis College allowed me to get involved with student clubs, organizations, and unions as well as appreciate films from a fresh, analytical perspective that I did not consider beforehand.
Q: What opportunities came out of attending U of T?
A: My diligent work at U of T has provided me with the opportunity to become the Vice-President of Internal and Services at the University of Toronto in which I represent all 46,000 full-time undergraduate students. I now work full-time to represent students and their rights on campus, in Ontario, and across Canada.
Q: How did you get to where you are now?
A: Long nights at Robarts library, going to my professors’ office hours to ask them every question imaginable, and community involvement. When I was not in the classroom I was engaged with my college, the Cinema Studies Student Union, the Caribbean Studies Student Union and the University of Toronto Television Club. I made opportunities for myself if they were not easily accessible and because of that opportunities eventually came to me.
Q: Is there anything else that you think would be of interest to other alumni?
A: Stay involved in the University of Toronto community. Our success stories help students achieve success on such an excellent campus that has so much to offer if you take the chance to get involved. This community is enriched with clubs, organizations, and possibilities to better yourself when you are not studying or in class. My time as an undergraduate student was memorable because of the support from the opportunities U of T was able to offer inside and outside the classroom.
Q: How did your involvement at UofT shape your undergraduate experience?
A: I am an international student from an island called St. Maarten so I was extremely nervous coming to Canada. I overcame that fear by stepping out of my comfort zone and getting involved in any way possible and I am so glad I took that step each and every day. I have organized orientation events, a film festival, shot multiple videos including several for the Varsity Blues and one for Innis College, and hosted film screenings all while having a part-time job and in school. I was so involved in the community that being a representative for all students with the UTSU perfectly complimented what I enjoy doing best—giving back. I feel like my time at university has come to a complete full circle by becoming an executive for the UTSU. It is a culmination of all the social gathering, organizing, outreach, and event planning I have been doing since I came to university. I encourage all students to take that leap out of their own comfort zone as well because you will be amazed at all that U of T has to offer.